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Staples Connect Home Automation Hits Stores Today

Staples rolls out Connect home automation and security system today in 32 small-market stores; Doorbot and Ivee not yet available, but inexpensive Lutron ClearConnect dimmers and shades available now.


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Staples Connect display at select Staples store, sans Ivee and Doorbot, which are “coming soon.” Click here to see entire store display.

The Zonoff-powered Staples Connect, the DIY home automation and security system announced by the office superstore earlier this year, finally hits stores today.

Sadly for me, of the 32 launch stores, none of them are in major markets. There’s no Boston, for example, but you can stop by Staples in North Andover or S. Attleboro, Mass.

You can also swing by stores in Palm Springs and Petaluma, Calif., but not L.A., San Francisco or San Diego.

There’s nothing in Texas or Florida, but you can find Connect-carrying stores in Vermont, North Dakota and Iowa.

The reason for this small-market strategy is that Staples tends to do its heaviest local promotions through circulars, so it’s important that they completely cover a market at launch—something that’s impossible to do in Boston or L.A. (or my home town of San Antonio), for example.

You can also shop online.

At launch, not all promised Connect-compatible products are available. For example, the Ivee voice-enabled controller/alarm clock and the Doorbot WiFi-enabled video doorbell are “coming soon,” according to a Staples spokesperson.

“We won’t be at Staples for launch, but we have every intention of being there,” company principal August Cziment tells CE Pro. “Right now the product is early in the development process. We continue to focus on enhancing video and audio quality.”

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Expect to see a Staples Connect display like this—sans Doorbot and Ivee—at 32 stores starting today. Click to enlarge.

RELATED: Can Staples Sell Home Automation?

Staples offers the usual slate of products and services for a DIY Z-Wave- and IP-enabled home control system – Z-Wave outlets and dimmers, sensors, IP cameras, door locks, smoke detectors (new from BRK/First Alert) and thermostats (Honeywell) – all of which communicate with a $99 hub made by Linksys and controllable via smart phones and tablets.

The only ground-breaker is the Hub’s ability to integrate with Lutron lighting controls and motorized shades, thanks to its built-in ClearConnect RF technology that communicates natively with the Lutron devices (a different flavor of ClearConnect than that found in other Lutron products).

To order Lutron’s Serena shades, the Staples Connect site takes you to a Lutron-run site.

Staples Connect Prices

Prices for the Staples home automation products are comparable to what you’d find anywhere. The dimmers, door locks and other Z-Wave devices are mostly on par with everyone else’s.

Not the Pro’s ClearConnect

The Lutron ClearConnect RF protocol found in the DIY line is different than (and incompatible with) pro-centric ClearConnect solutions. Pros will want to educate themselves and clients on the differences

The Lutron DIY wireless products, including a new line of ClearConnect Caseta wireless lighting controls, is competitive with comparable Z-Wave devices. For example, a 600-Watt Lutron Caseta dimmer is only $60 compared to $70 for a similar Z-Wave product from Cooper Industries.

A Starter Kit comprising a hub and one Z-Wave appliance modules costs $140, and a Home Monitoring Kit with a hub, a water sensor and a D-Link IP cam costs $300.

A Lighting Kit with a hub, a Lutron appliance module and a Lutron in-wall dimmer costs $200.

The Staples Connect system is powered by a cloud-based platform from Zonoff, the service provider for Somfy’s Tahoma control system. No monthly fees are required.

RELATED: CES 2013 Shocker: Lowe’s Iris Home Automation Has Legs
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Article Topics

News · Product News · Home Automation and Control · Control Systems · Lighting · Security · Energy Management · Lutron · Staples · Clearconnect · Staples Connect · All topics

About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Co-Founder, EH Publishing / Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

14 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Joe Whitaker  on  11/27  at  10:01 AM

Is that a Yale lock I see in that picture? And that doorbell Cam looks like one I saw on Shark Tank. Interesting.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/27  at  10:02 AM

yes indeed, your CEDIA highness.

Posted by Joe Whitaker  on  11/27  at  10:06 AM

LOL, You’re killing me. I am going to have to order some of this gear and see what we are actually dealing with here. We have seen this happen before “most notably at Home Depot”, but with the product line up I see with this one there looks to be a little merit. I don’t think us CI guys will ever be replaced because our customers don’t want to DIY, but this may just be the type of thing we need to get the masses interest.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/27  at  10:10 AM

I think CE Pro will be curious about the native Lutron tie-in. This is the first of the DIY offerings. The ClearConnect RF is different than what you find in other Lutron products.

Integrators will want to be educated on differentiating their offerings from this one.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/27  at  10:14 AM

(I added that thought to the story)

Posted by Joe Whitaker  on  11/27  at  10:17 AM

The quote of the day goes to you. “Integrators will want to be educated on differentiating their offerings from this one.”
That is a key point. legit big/dependable names are in this one. However integrators I don’t think need to fear, more like use this opportunity as an educated catapult to show that with an integrators services comes years of experience, expertise, and ongoing service.

Posted by Erik  on  11/27  at  12:09 PM

This seems very interesting.  Currently they’re out of stock in the Staples store but when it becomes available I’m getting one for me and one for my parents.

Integrators will always have some roll in HA.  There will be more and more advanced devices that aren’t DIY capable (or at least will take a while to become so).  Most importantly some people can’t tell the difference between a screw driver and a hammer so they will always need support.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/27  at  12:12 PM

Hi, Eric—you stopped by a store that was on the list? If so, which store, and what did you see? Thanks!

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/products/131110/32724/

Posted by Erik  on  11/27  at  12:21 PM

I’m sorry, I meant online they are sold out.

I did stop by the NJ store this morning at about 9 and they said they would be in around 12-1.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/27  at  12:35 PM

That’s strange the stuff is sold out online. Would you mind takings pics of the store display and giving us your thoughts on the knowledge level of the store employees?

Would love a consumer’s perspective.

Thanks! .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Posted by Erik  on  11/27  at  12:43 PM

The display is very nice.  Each panel is backlit and when you choose to control something in the app the panel lights up.  You can tell that they put a lot of work into it. 
Positives:
  Cool looking
  Control all the devices from the app (except ivy and doorbot)
  Pico remotes were also able to control devices
  Nice promo videos - think someone forgot to turn on sound (one of the videos is on the staples website)
  All the products are below the display on the shelves
  Brochure was interesting
  Lit up when I walked up to it (some PIR sensor)
Negatives:
  Needs TLC - you could see power wires to devices
  Sound was missing from movies
  Was in the middle of the store instead of up front
  Didn’t have hub in yet
  Across from it was a noisy display (bluetooth something)

I didn’t speak with an employee and they were busy opening the store for the day.  I’ll possible go back in the next few days.

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/27  at  12:48 PM

Thanks, Erik!

When you get back to your computer, I’d be very curious about your experience with home automation—if you’ve tried other DIY products, why you’re interested in Staples offering, etc.

I’m very surprised the Hub is not available. It is required for the system. I’m trying to get some info on that.

Posted by Joel  on  11/27  at  02:59 PM

Julie, what would you like to know? I will be one of the level 2 techs on the Staples Connect. We’ve not received any calls yet but hope to by Monday!!

Posted by Julie Jacobson  on  11/27  at  03:02 PM

Hi, Joel—how wonderful of you to chime in!

I’ll mostly be curious about what kind of tech-support calls come in, how people are using the system, stuff like that.

It is the first DIY system using the Zonoff platform and with native Lutron ClearConnect so it should be an interesting rollout.

Thanks again.

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