Irvine, Calif. — Home-automation supplier Insteon will sell select products through Microsoft stores for the first time as part of a collaboration that includes Insteon’s first control apps for Windows Phone 8 smartphones and Windows 8.1 devices.
The collaboration also marks the first time that Microsoft stores will sell connected-home products.
“Microsoft tested a variety of products and chose us,” said Joe Gerber, Insteon president/COO. Insteon will benefit from Microsoft’s in-store assisted-sales approach, he added. Insteon will train Microsoft salespeople and, in select stores, will provide its first display to give consumers the opportunity to interact with live products, said marketing director Isaac Sanz. The display will also feature an explanatory video presentation. Other brick-and-mortar retailers selling Insteon use either static product displays or displays with an explanatory video.
Insteon products will be available June 1 at MicrosoftStore.com, and by early July, the products will be rolled out to the vast majority of Microsoft’s 53 retail stores across the U.S., Insteon said.
The new apps, which offer exclusive features for Windows devices, will also be available June 1 for Windows phones, tablets, laptops, and desktops.
Insteon has been offering a control app for Windows PCs since 2007 but hasn’t offered a Windows 8 app before. The company hasn’t offered a control app for previous versions of Microsoft’s smartphone OS. Insteon already offers iOS and Android control apps.
Microsoft’s brick-and-mortar stores will offer five Insteon devices plus two bundled kits. The five devices in the brick-and-mortar stores consist of a leak sensor, open/close sensor, LED lightbulb, on/off module, and a Wi-Fi camera at prices from $29 to $79. The kits start at $199.
Microsoft’s online store will add additional SKUs, including Insteon’s first kit designed specifically for small business, said Sanz.
All kits are unique to Microsoft, and the business kit was assembled at Microsoft’s request because of Microsoft’s presence in homes and businesses, he noted.
Control and monitoring features exclusive to the Windows apps include providing restricted access to home systems to children and guests. Another exclusive feature is the ability to monitor and control multiple homes and businesses from a single subscription-free account. Other exclusive features include a dashboard view that includes the status of all home systems and Wi-Fi-camera video. The ability to view Wi-Fi camera video without installing an Insteon hub is also exclusive. This capability is targeted to users who want only to view security cameras, the company said.
On Windows Phone 8 smartphones, users will be able to view the status of home systems in a single Live Tile. Users will be able to see when a door is opened or closed, for example.
Insteon products are sold through multiple online stores and catalogs as well as through select Best Buy, The Home Depot and TigerDirect brick-and-mortar stores and is adding stores in these accounts, the company said.