Sears Holdings has acquired the technology behind WallyHome, a smart device that senses changes in moisture, temperature and humidity, and can alert homeowners to possible leaks via a powerline network.
Sears purchased the technology, and will license related know-how, from Seattle startup SNUPI Technologies (Sensor Network Utilizing Powerline Infrastructure), which will also provide consulting services for the development of future Sears Connected Solutions products.
“This acquisition reinforces our commitment to the Connected Solutions business and the technology that we think can help fuel our company’s transformation,” said Ryan Ciovacco, Sears’ president of consumer electronics and connected solutions.
Added SNUPI CEO and co-founder Jeremy Jaech, “With Sears retail presence, strong brands such as Craftsman and Kenmore, and their home services business, they will be able to efficiently scale the Connected Solutions business.”
He said SNUPI will focus on “continued development of its unique communication platform technology for license to Sears and other connected home product manufacturers.”
Sears’ acquisition also includes the lease of a 10,000-square-foot technology development office on the campus of the University of Washington, and the addition of four new employees.
“We’re excited to extend our presence to this location on the university campus in Seattle,” said Parag Garg, chief technology officer, Connected Solutions, Sears Holdings, who will manage office operations. “We think this location will enhance our recruiting and hiring of technical talent for hardware, embedded engineering and connected Solutions.”
The new office will be Sears’ second tech facility in Seattle, following the opening last May of a technology development suite at the city’s Columbia Center, focusing on home appliance innovation with front-end development, product management, program management, design and research.
Sears launched a flagship Connected Solutions showroom the following month within its San Bruno, Calif., store, featuring connected living room, kitchen, nursery, workout room, garage and outdoor area vignettes.
The retailer is also expanding its smart-product assortment to hundreds of Sears stores, and provides a wider array of networked devices on the Connected Solutions section of its website.