We’re supposed to be living in that fabled “paperless office” era, aren’t we? So can someone explain to me why I keep having to zip to Staples to buy paper or overly expensive printer cartridges? Still, the world we live in is getting more connected, not less, and one of the very next things to get Internetted is going to be your home. This is thanks to innovations like the Nest smart thermostat, Wi-Fi- controllable lightbulbs, smartphone-controlled doorlocks, and so on. Staples is wise to this trend, and has launched Staples Connect, a bold new initiative that could make it easier for the average consumer to build a so-called “connected home.”
Staples Connect is built around a central “Hub” wireless control device and an associated Staples app that runs on smartphones or tablets. The Hub is a clever solution that supports multiple connected home communications protocols, which means consumers can now buy smart home devices from a company like Philips or Honeywell and hook them up to one machine. This solves one of the bigger issues in domotics, or home automation, which is incompatible standards used by different manufacturers. Staples will sell its Hub for $99.
Domotics is supposedly a booming phenomenon, and big-name players like Google and Verizon have tried to get in on the scene. But there’s been seemingly so little meaningful progress in the technology–which is surprising given that it’s really not very complicated–that there’s been a flurry of domotics projects on Kickstarter. At least Staples is being smart about this technology, and that may make all our homes just a little bit more Jetsons-like, sooner rather than later.