Target’s Open House Retail Format-A Smart Place for the Connected Home
Ever worry whether you turned off the AC, left the lights blazing or put food out for your pets while rushing out of the house for work or a business trip? Target has a solution. Last month I visited Target’s new Open House and Connected Home store at the Metreon Center in San Francisco a few weeks after it opened. The space is on the ground floor of a City Target and is a well-planned showroom vs. a typical Target chock full of inventory. Staffers are knowledgeable and tech savvy and by bringing together the products, the product makers (many are start-ups), and customers, Open House becomes a valuable testing ground to learn what items will resonate and ultimately drive sales.
The lowest priced item and top seller as of my visit in late July was the Tile smart locator device (4 for $70) to find your missing keys or mobile phone. At the higher end, Nest products, the Google owned brand that makes smart thermostats, smoke alarms, and video cams were represented along with other items you didn’t know you needed. The Mimo baby monitor provides functions tailored to your baby, including soft music to lull a crying baby back to sleep. There’s a coffee maker that will have your favorite brew ready by programming it on your phone, a smart pet food feeder called Petnet, and Refuel, a smart gas tank for your car. Ring, a video doorbell allows you to see who’s at the door before you open it. For those of us apartment dwellers with doormen to announce visitors, it’s unnecessary, but as the IoT and other technologies take over many day to day tasks in our lives, this device could make the doorman’s job obsolete.
Off the main space at the Open House, a living room and bedroom are set up with sleek acrylic furniture. A touch of the screen demonstrates how a homeowner can interact with various devices for a health check or to address a potential leak during a midnight storm. Too bad the furniture is not for sale. The desk and lamp pictured here are smart looking, whether connected or not.