LAS VEGAS--Lowe's might not be the first name that comes to mind when you're thinking about cutting-edge home tech, but the company has quietly moved into the field with a series of simple, do-it-yourself kits called Iris.
Pulling together technology from a huge range of vendors, including Verizon, Sylvania, Schlage, First Alert, GE Jasco, and Radio Thermostat of America, Lowe's is offering three Iris kits as well as a new senior monitoring pack called Iris Care.
Iris Care lets you monitor a person's habits and routines remotely. When it detects something abnormal, such as a door opening in the middle of the night, it can text you. It includes an emergency pendant, which can call, e-mail, or text when activated. It can also monitor the ambient temperature at the person's house.
Lowe's recommends that Iris Care be used in conjunction with one of the Iris kits that includes motion sensors and apps for remote monitoring. Iris also offers a secure Web site for checking up on it from a PC or Mac. The Senior Pendant will cost $29.99, and the notification services it utilizes cost $14.98 per month.
The new Iris Smart Kit is a premium-level do-it-yourself kit that combines Lowe's two other Iris kits: Comfort and Control, and Safe and Secure. While those retail for $179, the Smart Kit will set you back $299. It includes an Iris Hub, motion sensor, smart plug, keypad, range extender, smart thermostat, and two window, door and cabinet sensors.
The kits will work with a new line of "connected" home products that Lowe's is releasing throughout the year, including stand-alone, standard-socket LED lightbulbs from Sylvania. These bulbs contain a chip inside that connects to the Iris system without having to use a smart plug. No price has been announced for the bulb, although its public availability is expected in the first quarter of 2013.