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Staples To Add Home-Automation Section To Stores

Framingham, Mass. — Staples today is introducing a home-automation concept dubbed Staples Connect that it will initially roll out in a limited number of stores and online. 9/24/2013 05:15:00 AM Eastern

Framingham, Mass. — Staples today is introducing a home-automation concept dubbed Staples Connect that it will initially roll out in a limited number of stores and online.

This will have the office superstore chain selling products that range far from its normal assortment of paper and inkjet toner and will include door locks, garage door openers and window blinds. The new additions will have a high-tech edge with the ability to be networked and controlled from any connected device.

Staples Connect is a family of products that utilize a software backbone created by the technology firm Zonoff to tie together a series of home-automation products that can all be controlled via a single iOS or Android app, said Peter Gerstberger, Staples senior category merchant.

The products come from a variety of vendors that worked with Zonoff to make their existing devices compatible with the Staples Connect apps. These are now available from Staples’ web store.

Starting in November, Staples Connect will receive a limited physical rollout at first — Gerstberger would not give an exact figure on the number locations receiving the update — and will sell via Staples online. There are plans to increase the store presence, but those plans are also being tightly held at this time.

The display areas will consist of a 12-foot display case prominently located in the store’s technology section. As new products are added, the display area will be expanded. Gerstberger said no existing products will be supplanted by these displays.

There will be an attached tablet running the Staples Connect app as a demo tool, as well as specially trained personnel to assist customers. The tablet will run through all the products available by turning on a light to indicate the device, and will then run through how it works.

Although the Staples Connect products are designed for the do-it-yourself customer, some products — such as light switches and door locks — may require a level of installation skill beyond that of the average consumer. Staples will contract with licensed third-party electricians to handle that aspect of the sale.

The first batch of products are:

• lighting and shades from Lutron

• lighting solutions from Philips, including Philips Hue, and GE

• climate control from Honeywell

• safety products from Yale and First Alert

• EcoLink motion sensors and door/window sensors

• Aeon Labs surge protectors and water sensors

• DoorBot wireless doorbells

• D-Link cameras

• Ivee alarm clock with voice activation

Gerstberger said Staples is already looking to incorporate additional products into the Staples Connect family, including health and fitness and possibly audio and video.

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