Target Testing IoT Waters With Connected Concept Shop

Creates a connected-home lab for consumers, vendors
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Target will open a concept house here tomorrow that showcases 35 connected devices within a sparse, sci-fi-like setting.

Updated! San Francisco — Target will open a concept house here this Friday that showcases 35 connected devices within a sparse, sci-fi-like setting.

The 3,500-square-foot shop, located within the downtown Metreon shopping center near a small-format CityTarget store, utilizes touchscreen tables, live products and acrylic walls with projected messaging to help explain and sell connected-home concepts to consumers.

Dubbed “Open House,” the shop is part store, part IoT merchandising lab, and part start-up vendor pitch space. A few of the products are currently available throughout the 1,800-store chain — Target was already testing home-automation products in 500 locations last fall — and others may follow, along with some of the display ideas.

“Putting a house in the space, we felt, was the most relatable and welcoming way to introduce these products,” said Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer. “What we’re trying to do is humanize and personalize the benefits of these products, as well as show them working in concert. It’s really about relevant storytelling and creating a destination for engagement and discovery.”

The retailer’s early IoT inroads are part of a new-business development initiative under chairman/CEO Brian Cornell, who is looking to mine fresh revenue fields. Like other retailers, the discounter hopes to cash in on the anticipated connected-services tsunami, and its Open House follows by two weeks the formal launch of Sears’ flagship Connected Solutions mock home in nearby San Bruno, Calif.

“From a strategic perspective, we see Internet of Things as a megatrend on the horizon. We know it’s going to generate huge value,” said Casey Carl, Target’s chief strategy and innovation officer, whose “enterprise growth initiatives” team created the concept shop. “We’re using Open House to test the trend, both for us and for guests.”

Target’s Open House will formally open tomorrow and TWICE will be on the scene this afternoon for a media preview. Visit TWICE.com for updates.

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