Home Control Curious? Staples Connect Drops To $50.

Dave Zatz —  July 1, 2014 — 5 Comments

staples-connect

If you’re just easing into home control and automation like me, Staples Connect is worth a look — moreso as the Linksys hub will shortly drop to a mere $50. With apps for most platforms, the hub communicates via 802.11b/g/n, Z-Wave, and Lutron wireless protocols. Along with the price reduction, broader retail distribution has been announced along with a second $80 D-Link hub $80 that will add Zigbee and Bluetooth LE communication. It seems pretty clear Bluetooth LE, aka Bluetooth Smart, will play a prominent role in this space (along with wearables), but its limited broadcast range may inhibit hub effectiveness and the existing model seems to do a fine job bridging most home automation silos. And we’re told the team is working through the process of Nest integration – which may be requisite these days.

While players like these aggregate a certain amount of device functionality behind a single UI, the real power comes from linking different products and technologies in meaningful ways. And one of the killer use cases of Staples Connect is turning a $15 Lutron Pico remote into a Philips Hue lightswitch. Program each button to do… whatever.

lutron-pico

Of course, there are several entrants in the space… which is sure to evolve further given Apple’s newfound interest and I’m keeping an eye on that incoming $79  Wink Hub and $15 GE wireless LEDs. But, at 50 bucks, Staples Connect is now the most cost effective solution.

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

5 responses to Home Control Curious? Staples Connect Drops To $50.

  1. Intriguing. What’s the long tail on Staples support for this platform? Does it even matter? Just curious what their play is here. More home or commercial applications?

    Have you gotten one yet, Dave?

    P.S. I’m all caught up on my ZNF reading now. :-)

  2. So it’s an interesting hybrid here. Staples Connect is created, updated, etc by a company called Zonoff. Instead of going direct to consumer like a SmartThings (that Adam just picked up), they provide their technology to others. In Staples case, I believe they see this as a modernization play – an opportunity to take their retail offerings higher tech and they probably rightly assume that once you have a smart hub in your home, you’re going to want to load up on additional devices … that they’ll conveniently sell you. I assume this is more of a personal, versus commercial, play but could perform equally well in the workplace given environmental sensors, door locks, security cameras, and the like.

    I’ve had several conversations with the company behind the company since first linking up at CES and was provided a Staples Connect kit for some informal consultation (versus blogging). I quite like their business approach and team, think they have great potential and some interesting irons in the fire. Staples underwriting the hardware and service like this makes the tech way more accessible.

    The Lutron stuff has been a subtle but significant differentiator in my mind – especially given that economic Pico remote, whose buttons can be programmed to do anything. Also hoping Lutron continues to draw wireless shade pricing down. But it’s getting interesting as Lutron just released their own hub and will be supported by the upcoming GE/Quirky Wink that may have just had its priced also lowered to $49. I’ve relied on Lutron stuff since running a project in 2001 with Lutron-powered track lighting that dimmed as part of a Harmony movie-watching scene and such.

    Adam’s got a few projects underway, but I’m wondering if I should send him my Staples Connect and let him write up some sort of SmartThings comparison. Maybe also get Wink into the mix, when released. And Logitech (which we both possess) wants to be a hub, too. (Revolv is no longer worth talking about at $300.) Fun times, for sure!

  3. I have a bunch of Insteon light switches that I’ve had trouble reprogramming since something’s off with my hub and Java. Would this thing be able to control insteon light switches?

  4. For insteon the ISY is the way to go. More expensive but a solution that has everything you will need. By far one of the best home automation controllers out there and now supports zwave or zigbee in addition to insteon.

  5. Yeah, if you’re deep into Insteon this is the wrong solution.

Leave a Reply

*

Text formatting is available via select HTML.

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>