September 25, 2013
It may seem an unlikely source for managing home automation or the next step forward for the Internet of Things, but Staples will launch its $100 Staples Connect hub in November. The Internet-connected hub by Linksys centralizes control of smart home appliances and other devices with the help of a single controller app. Staples hopes its approach will help curb the need for multiple proprietary apps that are common with smart home devices currently on the market.
“Staples Connect lets you control lights, thermostat and more with all the brands of connected home products you trust,” according to the Staples site. “With Staples Connect and any smartphone, tablet or PC, you have the freedom to control remotely all of your favorite brands of enabled devices with one easy-to-use app. Plus, they can communicate with each other for a wholly integrated and automated home.”
“The Universal Hub is the smarts behind your smart home,” explains the site. “You connect it to your broadband either wirelessly or by Ethernet cable. It’s easy to hook up, and once it is, you’ll be able to use the Staples Connect App to communicate with all of your compatible enabled devices, regardless of the brands you choose.”
Staples Connect eliminates the need to switch around between apps and allows users to turn older things smart by connecting non-Internet products with the hub. For example, users who did not purchase smart bulbs can still control regular incandescent bulbs. The app will be available for iOS and Android.
“The Staples Connect app contains a menu of all the different things you might have hooked up in your home: Outlets, lights, locks, webcams, fans, garage door, to name a few. Several smart home appliance manufacturers have also teamed up with Staples for the app, such as Honeywell (smart thermostat), DoorBot (smart doorbell), and ivee (Siri for the home),” reports Digital Trends. “At launch, the Staples Connect will support up to 20 devices, and will be used in some Staples retail locations beginning mid-October if you want to get a feel for how it works.”