Staples Connect vs. Lowe’s Iris: Home Automation Smackdown at CES 2014

Goji, Withings, Koubachi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, Insteon join Staples Connect; Lowe’s adds smart water valve and major in-store display.

Mick Koster, director of operations for Lowe's Iris home automation system, showing some new features at the 2014 International Consumer Electronics Show.
Julie Jacobson · January 9, 2014

Two giant retailers are duking it out at CES 2014 with their respective home automation systems: Staples Connect and Lowe’s Iris.

Lowe’s launched Iris last year at CES, and Staples announced Connect last September and just started shipping in November.

At CES, Lowe’s is announcing a few new Iris-compatible products, including the new UL-certified garage door controller from Linear and a SmartValve water flow monitor and shut-off device from Soneter.

The bigger news, though, is Lowe’s has created a substantial kiosk for all of its stores. Previously, the displays were pretty anemic.

The new kiosks, which consume four 8-foot bays, showcase Lowe’s commitment to home automation and some serious one-upmanship on Staples, which previously had a better retail display.

SmartValve water flow monitor and shut-off device from Soneter

Staples Adds Partners
That brings us to Staples, which had several announcements during CES, where it is demonstrating Connect in a private suite with its partner Zonoff, provider of cloud-based smart home services.

Speaking of one-upmanship, Staples says it is opening a Staples Connect in-store display in Manhattan, located at 2248 Broadway.

Staples Connect display at select Staples store

As for technology, Staples is expanding its platform to include ZigBee, Bluetooth and Insteon-enabled devices, joining Z-Wave, Lutron ClearConnect and Wi-Fi as radios/protocols supported.

Staples also has new device partners for its platform:

Kwikset (door locks)
Radio Thermostat (thermostats)
Centralite (ZigBee lights, thermostats)
Koubachi (Wi-Fi sensors and automated plant care)
Waxman (water management)
Goji (door locks)
Rachio (smart sprinkler controller)
Withings (Wi-Fi scales and other fitness devices)

These companies join existing partners already available in Staples stores or online

Lutron (lighting and motorized shades)
Philips (Hue lighting)
Linksys (router/hub)
Honeywell (thermostats)
First Alert (Z-Wave fire/smoke detector)
Yale (locks)
GE (Z-Wave devices)
Cooper (Z-Wave lighting)
Leviton (Z-Wave devices)
Schlage (door locks)
Ecolink (learning thermostat system)
Aeotec (Z-Wave sensors)
Ivee (voice-control alarm clock for home automation)
Doorbot (doorbell/camera)

CES 2013 Shocker: Lowe’s Iris Home Automation Has Legs
Staples Connect Home Automation Hits Stores Today
Staples Launches Connect Home Automation; Teams with Lutron for Lighting, Shades

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at

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  Article Topics

News · Iris · Lowes · Staples · All Topics
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