Framingham, Massachusetts based office supply retailer Staples, announced yesterday a series of major expansions of its Private Brand home and office automation platform Staples Connect , including a 500 store rollout, new pricing for the Staples Connect Hub, and collaborations with Microsoft, Jawbone, and D-Link. Staples is also the first retailer to announce the integration of wearable technology to its platform.
Staples is competing in this rapidly growing category with numerous companies and retailers including: the Iris Private Brand system form Lowe’s, Nest, Insteon and Apple, not to mention offerings from home security companies, cable companies. A Private Branded home automation offering from electronics retailer Best Buy is also reportedly in the works.
After a limited launch in the fall of 2013, Staples is adding Staples Connect in-store displays to 500 retail locations. All compatible devices are already currently available for purchase on Staples.com and through all of Staples’ in-store kiosks. These devices – the most widely supported list in the industry, with 35 existing hardware partners – include an extensive variety of top brand name manufacturers including Lutron, Philips, Honeywell, First Alert, Yale, Kwikset, Schlage, Leviton, Cooper, GE, D-Link, , Radio Thermostat and dozens of others, representing close to 150 individual smart devices for the home or office.
“Staples Connect offers the best-in-class home and office automation solution, with the widest array of product and services from the most trusted brands,” said Mike Edwards, executive vice president, merchandising, Staples. “Our in-store expansion shows that Staples is committed to providing our customers the newest tech offerings and innovations, like Staples Connect, so they can make more happen in their business and at home.”
Powered by software from smart home technology company Zonoff, Staples Connect has the most supported App platforms in the industry, with apps currently available on native iPad , iPhone , Android , and web browsers via HTML5. In addition, the Staples Connect App is now also available for Windows 8 and will soon be available on Samsung Smart TV’s.
“Every day consumers are using their Windows 8 devices to engage with their favorite apps and games in new and unique ways,” said Todd Brix, general manager, Windows apps and Store, Microsoft Corp. “Today Staples is offering consumers the ability to manage their home or office environment from their tablets, laptops and PC’s with a new app for Windows 8.1.”
With the Staples Connect in-store rollout, Staples is debuting an enhanced wearable technology experience, with a wide selection of brands, like Samsung and Polar. Select tech wearables available at Staples, including smart watches and lifestyle trackers like UP24 by Jawbone, will be able to control other integrated devices such as thermostats, shades, cameras, and doorbells. For example, users will be able to turn on the lights or open the blinds by turning off sleep the mode on their Jawbone UP.
“Every day, UP24 helps millions of people better understand how they sleep, move and eat, getting them engaged in their health and thinking about the lifestyle decisions they make every day,” said Travis Bogard, vice president of product management and strategy at Jawbone. “Our integration with Staples extends the possibilities of what UP24 can do for you, delivering a stronger, smarter ecosystem to make your daily experiences even more frictionless.”
Staples also announced new options for its Staples Connect Hub, with a reduced price of $49.99 for the critically acclaimed Linksys hub, and a new hub, manufactured by D-Link, available in the fall. The D-Link hub, which will retail for $79.99, adds support for ZigBee and Bluetooth LE (low energy), alongside all the major wireless protocols found in the current Linksys hub which includes WiFi 802.11b/g/n, Z-Wave, and Lutron Clear Connect. With the Staples Connect apps and the new hub’s expanded protocols, users can control and connect an even wider range of devices from the most trusted brands in the industry.
“We’re excited to be a part of the Staples Connect initiative and the impressive set of solutions here for connecting today’s digital consumer,” said Albert Ling, executive vice president of sales and marketing, D-Link Systems. “The Connected Home Hub is a powerful piece of networking hardware working seamlessly with the Staples Connect app for a stellar user experience enabling control over a wide variety of devices.”