Updated! Minneapolis – Best Buy is rolling out home-automation departments to more than 400 stores this fall.
The “Connected Home” sections are expected to be in place by Thanksgiving and will feature more than 100 products from established vendors and startups.
The assortment will include security cameras and monitoring service from Dropcam; smart thermostats from Nest and Honeywell; smart lighting from Philips/Hue; smart locks from Kwikset; garage door accessories from Chamberlain; and wireless on-off switches from Belkin WeMo.
The departments will also spotlight networking equipment (routers, modems and range extenders), plus TV, Internet, phone and security services from cable companies, DirecTV and ADT.
Most of the home automation shops will be located near the center of the stores, adjacent to the mobile departments, a Best Buy spokesperson told TWICE, and will be staffed by specially-trained Blue Shirt sales associates. More than 200 locations will also offer certified “connected home specialists” who received additional training, and all Connected Home departments will be supported by the chain’s Geek Squad IT support staff, which will provide consultations, wireless network setup, and training and education, the company said.
Among national chains, Best Buy follows Staples, The Home Depot and Lowe’s into sectioned merchandising of home automation products, while Amazon.com’s connected-home store is now in its second year online.
Perhaps the most sophisticated retail presentation to date is a pilot program by TigerDirect that features interactive dioramas and full-size vignettes representing the various rooms in a house.
Best Buy said it created the new department to help customers “understand and compare their options and improve home security, save energy costs and simplify the management of their homes.”
The retailer cited respective reports by Parks & Associates and VentureBeat indicating that 13 percent of broadband homes currently own at least one smart-home device, and that the industry is set to double by 2018 as products become more mainstream and affordable, with average retails of $50 to $350.
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