Three self-install kits are expected to be available to control heating, cooling, alarm systems, security cameras, and even appliances. Through a smartphone app or computer, homeowners can even create macros to simultaneously arm their alarms and turn down the thermostats.
Expected to be available mid-year, Lowe’s sees this as simply the tip of the iceberg, expecting that nearly everything they sell, up to and including light fixtures, will eventually be internet enabled. Priced for the mass market, the starter kits will include a smart thermostat, smart plugs, and a network hub. A more advanced model tosses in wireless door locks and motion sensors so the cat can easily send intruder alerts to your phone every time he sees something interesting outside, all without touching a button!
While AlertMe is a paid service in the UK, Lowe’s is expect to provide at least basic functionality for free through their web site. It’s the company’s opinion that if they don’t jumpstart these products for the average joe, that the entire market for them could stall unnecessarily.
We think there’s a real danger the whole market could stall if we just let all our manufacturing partners stick things on the shelves without considering the broader interests,” he said. “Consumers stand to get confused by the technology and lose the real benefits.”
Sometimes an industry does take a kick in the pants to get going, and I’m sure that Lowe’s sees a lot of potential profit in a razor and blade scenario. Eat the hubs and the hooks (the thermostat), and make mad bank when someone wants to be able to program the Roomba from their Miami Beach hotel room. Will it work? That depends on pricing, marketing, and in this economy, a bit of luck, best of it to them.