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Use your phone to talk to your house

Lowe's and monitoring-tech company AlertMe welcome the home of the future with a cloud-based home-monitoring system.


Lowe's has teamed up with U.K.-based monitoring-tech company AlertMe for some home improvement designed to take your house into the future (or at least help you save on your energy bill).

The companies unveiled today the Iris, a new cloud-based home-monitoring and security system. Iris, which won't be in stores until the end of August, is meant to let homeowners monitor and control devices in the home -- including heating and cooling, home alarm systems, security cameras, or appliances -- using a smartphone, tablet, or computer.

Mary Turner, CEO of AlertMe, said the system is an affordable way to automate your home.

"The AlertMe platform is unique because it's based on a multiprotocol home wireless hub, making it compatible with the widest number of third-party devices, and we anticipate that the number of connectable devices and appliances from brand leaders will only continue to grow," she said in a statement to CNET. "The Iris system is modular, easy to self install, customize, and grow as new devices are enabled. It's also priced to make it highly accessible. Lowe's is an ideal partner because it has the ability to bring many more connected devices to its customers."

Lowe's made its plans for an automated home system known earlier this year, and now it's delivered the product.

Iris will launch with three different starter kits:

Iris Safe and Secure ($179) -- Receive an e-mail, text, or call when alarm events happen at home or when the children arrive home from school. The kit includes a hub; motion sensors; a keypad; and door, window, and cabinet sensors.

Iris Comfort and Control ($179) -- This kit controls your house's energy and temperature levels. The kit includes the hub, along with a thermostat that can be controlled through the the Iris app and a smart plug that can remotely control devices and report current and historical energy usage.

Iris Smart Kit ($299) -- A combo kit of both packages. The kit includes a Hub; a motion sensor; a smart plug; a key pad; a range extender; a smart thermostat; and two window, door, and cabinet sensors.

Homeowners can add additional smart devices and sensors. Iris boasts an easy install and the free basic monitoring service includes text alerts when alarms are triggered; remote control of connected devices, thermostats, and locks; and access to remote video streaming from cameras.

Lowe's is also offering a premium service for $10 a month with no long-term contract. The service offers additional messaging to the homeowner for home events and lets customers program their home for customized actions like scheduling the lights to come on while they're on vacation, or setting a temperature change for a specific time in the day.