Your future smart home could be brought to you by… Target? Yes, Target. The retailer opened the doors of an experimental space, called Open House, in San Francisco Thursday. The Open House is completely dedicated to showcasing and selling smart home devices.
The store, which the company describes “part retail space, part lab,” allows customers to interact with dozens of connected home products.
The 3,500-square-foot space, adjacent to one of the company’s normal retail stores, looks more like a futuristic Apple Store than a Target. One side of the Open House has rows of products, mounted on custom-made interactive displays that activate when someone approaches.
The other side of the space — meant to demonstrate the sensor-laden gadgets in real-life scenarios — is set up like a house with each room showing off several devices at once. A kitchen, for example, displays a connected coffee maker, slow cooker and kitchen scale.
The products themselves run the gamut from well-known names like Sonos and Nest to smaller startups like Ring (a video doorbell) and Tile (a bluetooth-enabled device t help you keep track of your stuff.)
The idea, aside from selling individual products, is to show how many devices can work together to perform multiple actions at once, Target says.
“Instead of simply showing how a smart baby monitor functions, for instance, Open House connects it to other, sometimes surprising, products like a lamp and even the coffee maker and speakers,” the company wrote in a statement. “Visitors can see how a baby’s stirring prompts soothing music on the sound system and a pot of joe brewing in the kitchen.”
The Open House space has 35 products right now, most of which aren’t available at target.com or at the company’s other retail locations. That’s intentional, the company says, to keep with the experimental nature of the space, though sales in the space could influence future retail offerings. Target also plans to work closely with local hardware startups who want to showcase their products and even early prototypes in the space.
“There’s absolutely an end goal that this pushes Target’s merchandising in this space,” David Newman, director of enterprise growth initiatives told Mashable. “If there’s something great, we want to be early to it, we want to be the ones bringing it out there. In the same way we created new playbooks for doing style and design partnerships, this is very much a new playbook in how do we work with early stage companies.”
Source: Mashable Tech Target bets on the smart home with new futuristic ‘Open House’ lab | By Karissa Bell