Home improvement giant Lowe’s recently announced that it was selling a do-it-yourself pseudo-home control/energy management system called Iris, based on the AlertMe system sold in the U.K. Iris is available on the Lowe’s web site and will be in 500 stores by the end of August.
What does this mean for your business in selling energy-efficiency products and services? Not much directly, if you sell customized home control and energy management. But it can mean a lot indirectly.
A basic Iris system sells for $179 and consists of an Iris Hub, smart thermostat and smart plug; or for the same rice you can get the hub, 2 contact sensors, motion sensor and keypad. (A $299 package combines the two.) The Iris Hub connects to your home’s broadband router and communicates with your smart home devices. Customers can sign in to manage the system via on an Internet-connected computer or via mobile apps. The Iris app is available for free download for both iOS (iPhone, iPod touch and iPad) and Android users.
The system also allows users to remotely monitor and control their home from anywhere via a smartphone, tablet or computer with a free basic level of service. Text alerts can be sent when alarms are triggered, and users can access remote video streaming from cameras in the home.
A premium service for $9.99 a month provides additional messaging and home automation-type customization such as programming home modes, device activation schedules such as turning on lights, and vacation modes through a feature called Iris Magic.
The system will work with compatible ZigBee and Z-Wave wireless devices, and have Wi-Fi.
Big deal, right?
Well, yes, it can be a very big deal for many consumers who would love to have even this small level of limited home control and energy management, without paying out big monthly bucks to big boys like ADT, Comcast, Verizon et al.
The idea, as explained to me by AlertMe CEA Mary Turner at this year’s CES, is that in the near future people can go to Lowe’s and browse an aisle for all sorts of add-ons to their Iris systems. And wham! Lowe’s is in the home control business in a big way.
But like the systems from ADT, Comcast and the others, these basic systems won’t have all of the features and functions of a more robust home control system, installed by a professional and customized to their needs. There will be glitches. There may be service issues.
But don’t dismiss these kinds of system because they’re not in your market. Iris and others like it have the potential of getting more and more people interested in home control. They may get Iris and want more. And that’s where you come in.
You should get familiar with these systems and know what they can and can’t do. Then upsell against them. That’s what Iris means for your business.
You may also like: