Tag Archives: Target

Creating Smart Homes for Today – and Tomorrow

Need some help imagining what a smart connected home could look like? American retail giant Target recently installed and opened it’s own version in downtown San Francisco’s Metreon center. Its 3,500 square-foot model home is a transparent acrylic house with rooms decorated with acrylic furniture and outfitted with the latest smart connected home products. Target’s “Open House”, as it is called, and store offers both consumers and the curious a way to view and experience smart living.

Interestingly enough, you can’t really call the installation a “home of the future”, because all of the products on display, with the exception of one, are available today!

Walking through the rooms, guests experience vignettes that demonstrate the ways these multiple smart connected devices can work together to create helpful real-life solutions today. Here are a few sample scenarios:

  • The baby wakes up early crying in the nursery: The Mimo baby monitor ($199.99) alerts your phone and soothing music automatically begins piping in from Sonos speakers until you can get there. Soft Hue lights ($199.99 three-pack) gently go on. The Nest Cam ($199) gives you a good view of Junior in distress. The Nest thermostat adjusts for the morning temp. Meanwhile Wemo turns off the humidifier and turns on your coffee pot in the kitchen.
  • In the kitchen: Coffee Smart Optimal Brew ($149.99) is ready and you prepare for a long day by putting on a CrockPot Smart Slow Cooker ($129.99) meal that you can monitor from the office. Your Drop app and kitchen scale ($99.95) gives you the recipe and measures the exact ingredients needed. Meanwhile, your Petnet ($149.99) pet feeder is set to automatically feed the dog just the right amount of food for lunch.
  • In the master bedroom that evening: After weighing in and taking your blood pressure with Withings devices, you’re ready for sleep. Your Jawbone Up3 ($149.99) wearable, after monitoring your activity all day, is now ready to track your ZZZs. Once the Hue lights go off, August Smart Lock ($249.99) automatically locks up. All is well… until a midnight storm rolls through and Quirky alerts you to a leak in the garage…

Most of us are familiar with Nest, which is one of 50 vendors on display. But it is truly pretty amazing to see just how many other smart products are out there – and capable of working together to provide useful solutions in the home today.

Still, the smart home of today is pretty much in the domain of early adopters. While this is changing, for most of us (even in Silicon Valley) it is happening one device at a time. This was reinforced at a recent panel discussion on “The Connected & Smart Home: What It Can Be and How Will We Get There” hosted by the Churchill Club in San Jose, California.

Target Smart Home


So, Target’s idea is really a smart one (no pun intended), because the model helps to demystify connected home products and inspire guests just like me to explore the world of connected home living. Target says it also plans to learn from Open House. Both Target and its partners are getting real-time feedback from the real consumers interacting with their products.

To be sure, there is still a lot that needs to be figured out about the future of the smart connected home by the industry and consumers alike. The industry vision is that all our smart connected devices (that make sense) can be controlled remotely, easily talk to each other (in industry speak “are interoperable”), and provide data that can be analyzed and acted upon and protected, for the betterment our lives.

That there is a lot of work to be done, particularly on interoperability and the data analysis and security front, was also reinforced by the Churchill Club panel that featured some of the top experts in the field from Nest, Intel, Qualcomm, Forrester Research and Accenture.

Today, security is a chief concern to people adopting smart home technology. That’s security as in “home security.” But as we all see more smart connected devices coming into our homes and realize the data is flowing—not only in our homes, but outside of them, data security is only going to become increasingly important to all of us.

Target’s Open House underscores just how fast the future is coming and the need to be ready for it. Hopefully, this will not only be a great starting point to get more consumers interested in the concept of the smart home, but will also get them engaged and thinking ahead about the need to secure all that data being generated in our smart connected homes now and in the future.