When it comes to connected devices in the home, more than one retailer aims to educate consumers about the Internet of Things in context.
Target just re-launched its Open House connected home showroom space in San Francisco after seven weeks of retooling.
The Open House is a retail space modeled after a home that showcases connected home products in the context of their intended use. The home is constructed with clear acrylic materials and was designed by the retailer’s in-house creative team.
The overall goal is to educate consumers not only about individual devices, but also about the potential benefits of a system of connected devices within a home, according to Target.
The space originally opened in 2015 and has drawn more than 150,000 visitors, including chief product officers from more than 75 different brands, according to Gene Han, vice president of consumer IoT at Target.
“We were able to thoughtfully redesign Open House in ways that help us better fulfill its purpose: to demystify connected home technology for consumers and give entrepreneurs a space to showcase their products,” Han said in a blog post about the new design.
However, at least one other retailer is also working to educate consumers about connected products in the home.
Best Buy launched a program that sends so-called ‘in-home advisors’ to consumers’ homes to educate them about new products and capabilities, as the IoT Daily reported at the time (Best Buy, Sears Tap Into Connected Home Market).
The connected home consulting program is a free service aimed to support consumers from education to implementation of connected home solutions. After going through possible options with a homeowner, the in-home advisor designs a custom solution tailored to the home, including information for purchasing everything. If the homeowner decides to move forward, the in-home advisor acts as a concierge to manage the deliveries, installations and third-party services.
Best Buy initially launched the program as a pilot in Atlanta, San Antonio and Austin and has since expanded to include Orlando.
Target seems to have its eye on expansion as well. The updates and additions to the Open House were driven by feedback from the previous version, according to Han, who also heads the innovation office at Target.
“Our aim is to keep learning, so we had a lot of conversations and took copious notes,” Han said. “The feedback helped us more clearly understand what consumers need and want when it comes to IoT.”
One new area added to the space, the ‘Garage,’ acts as a showroom for new products, some of which have yet to launch. In addition to general exposure to Target shoppers, brands with products in the Garage can collect quantitative and qualitative data.
Analytics can be accessed through Target’s new ‘Mission Control’ dashboard, which streamlines the process for brands submitting products to the Open House and provides insights on consumer traffic, sales and interactions with those products.
Here are the products on display in the Garage: