Amazon, August Let You Lock the Front Door With Your Voice

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Good news for worry warts and the forgetful: Never again will you have to get up from your warm, cozy bed when you're snuggled in for the night to double check whether you locked the front door.

Thanks to Amazon and smart lock maker August, you can now check the lock using just your voice. Better yet, if the door happens to be unlocked, you can bolt it right from bed, with the help of Alexa, the cloud-based voice service that powers Amazon's Echo speaker and other devices.

Launched today, the new integration works with August's first or second-generation Smart Lock. Just enable the August Smart Lock skill within the Alexa app, and Amazon's digital assistant will be like your personal doorman.

Once you get it set up (the app will guide you through the process, which involves connecting your lock to Wi-Fi using the August Connect bridge), you'll be able to check your locks with commands like "Alexa, ask August if the front door is locked" or "Alexa, ask August to secure the lock."

August's Director of Developer Support, Andrew Rothfusz, said integrating the products was easy; the hard part was figuring out how people would ask Alexa to lock and check the door. Rothfusz and his team worked with beta testers and Amazon to get the phrasing just right, so Alexa will understand your request.

"Amazon has done a great job to make natural language processing available to developers," Rothfusz said. "If you can tell an 8-year-old to do it, you can ask Alexa."

Meanwhile, Alexa this week gained another handy skill: the ability to pay your Capital One mortgage. The bank in March became the first to offer its customers the ability to interact with their credit card, checking, and savings accounts via Amazon's personal assistant, and now it's letting people access their home and auto loans through the platform as well.

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