Staples is looking to become America's go-to place for home automation with a new concept called Staples Connect that will make it possible for people to network and control a wide variety of devices in their residences.
Beginning in November, the office supplies chain will offer software that will serve as the system's backbone, enabling home owners to manage climate control, lighting, security, etc. using an iOS or Android device.
Staples will be going up against cable companies, home security firms and others in the smart home arena. The retailer plans to display the Connect concept in a 12-foot case within its existing technology centers. According to reports, the rollout will be limited, with no set store count announced by the chain.
The idea of the smart home goes back decades. Back in the late 1980s, companies were touting smart homes as the next big thing. More than 20 years later, the question is: how much closer are Americans to automating their homes?
Peter Gerstberger, a category merchant at Staples, told VentureBeat, that the company will need to educate consumers to get them to spend hundreds on smart home devices.
"People will only start caring about this when we start giving them scenarios in which the technology is going to make their lives easier. We have to move it away from a novelty and closer to utility," Mr. Gerstberger said.
How likely is Staples to succeed with its Connect concept?