A year ago, the prototype of the solar powered Brinks Array intrigued me at CES. This year, the finished smart lock looks great. You’ll be able to preorder it in May, and you’ll be able to control it with your Amazon Echo.
Just like with Alexa’s integration with the August Smart Lock — you won’t be able to unlock the door with a spoken command. Amazon’s always-listening Echo can be controlled by anyone, so for security reasons, you’ll only be able to lock the door. That said, you can access your bank account and make purchases with the Echo — Amazon’s assistant Alexa will just ask you for a pin. Perhaps Brinks didn’t feel that was secure enough.
Previously, the solar panel on the lock was fixed. Now, you can detach it and charge it. That sounds like more work, but it allows you to put the lock on doors that don’t get a lot of light. Otherwise, lots of the features look standard for a smart lock — you can lock and unlock the door remotely and pass out digital keys.
Brinks uses the solar panel to help its battery last as long as possible — this is a handy and useful feature since Wi-Fi takes more power than shorter range signals like Bluetooth and Zigbee, but it allows you to use the Brinks Array without any extra hardware like a hub.
Will Brinks be able to keep up with the likes of August? Alexa will help, and we’ll find out later this year.