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Smart locks that play nicely with HomeKit and similar platforms are a proposition almost too good to pass up. Top-of-the-line models from Yale and Schlage automatically unlatch doors when familiar faces arrive, and they lock them when someone departs. But problematically, they’re typically expensive — particularly in homes with multiple locks to upgrade.
Unsurprisingly, there’s a small but burgeoning category of products designed to imbue old locks with connected smarts. The Yale Access brings Bluetooth and Apple HomeKit support to Yale’s Keyless, Conexis, Digital Monoblock, and Doorman, along with features like activity feeds. The crowdfunded Keymitt fits atop virtually any deadbolt, euro cylinder, or mortise lock to effectively convert them into smart locks. There’s also the Kwikset Kevo Convert, the Open Sesame, the August Smart Lock, and the Friday Lock, all of which perform more or less retrofit.
But John Martin and Ken Goto, both veterans of Apple, think they can do a bit better. That’s why in 2016 they founded Level Home, a Redwood City, California-based startup developing a product — Level Lock: Bolt Edition — that promises to transform any deadbolt into a connected lock.
Investors were evidently taken with the idea. Level Home today revealed that it’s raised over $71 million in funding from Walmart, Hut 8 Ventures, and home construction and real estate company Lennar.
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“With every product we create, we start at square zero so we can strike the perfect balance between today’s cutting edge technology and the practicality of our everyday living experience,” said CEO Martin. “Many smart home products on the market today over emphasize technology and as a result complicate our everyday lives. We believe ‘smart’ products should blend in naturally with your home while offering you an improvement to your daily routines. At Level Home, we’re not just designing products for a house, we’re designing them for the people who make it a home.”
The Level Lock’s six-stage stainless steel gearbox, which Martin describes as the first of its kind, packs a removable CR2 battery that lasts for a quoted year. It can be installed inside a door in about 10 minutes using a standard screwdriver, and it connects with Apple’s HomeKit to enable Siri integration and deliver updates through the Home app.
The Level Lock offers keyless entry via a Bluetooth connection to a smartphone with the Level Home companion app. Said app lets owners invite family, friends, and guests to use their phones as keys to unlock the door, and it provides notifications when people come and go and optionally locks (or unlocks) the Level Lock based on location (e.g., geofencing) or the time.
Level Home is pursuing a smart lock market that’s projected to be worth $3.4 billion by 2025, according to Markets and Markets. (That’s up from $1.1 billion in 2016.) There’s no shortage of competition — Lockly, Honeywell, and Gate come to mind — but Martin and Goto ambitiously plan to launch a suite of residential lock products in the coming months.
“Level Home’s unique approach and technology is a game changer for homebuilders,” said Lennar Ventures managing general partner Eric Feder. “As one of the nation’s leading home builders, Lennar is founded on a long tradition of quality craftsmanship and attention to detail. The Level Lock will transform the smart lock category by allowing home builders to offer innovation without having to compromise on their home experience.”
Level Lock is available for preorder starting today. It’ll be available starting in January 2020, optionally with professional installation provided by HelloTech.
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