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.
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.”
Expect to see a Staples Connect display like this—sans Doorbot and Ivee—at 32 stores starting today. Click to enlarge.
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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.
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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. Email Julie at [email protected]