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Smart Home

Lowe's pulls the plug on the Iris smart home platform

The whole system is shutting down in March, leaving customers with expensive bricks.

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Tyler Lizenby/CNET

Lowe's is discontinuing its Iris smart home line -- and even ending online support for existing Iris products -- at the end of March.

The Iris by Lowe's smart home system offered a subscription-based alternative to the likes of SmartThings and Wink. While the app could be tedious and some of the fees didn't make sense, Lowe's hoped a wide range of compatible products and an intricate and customizable rules system would improve its appeal.

Now, Iris users will need to find another option. After initially announcing the shutdown last November, Lowe's sent an email to customers on Thursday with the shutdown date. All related services will end on March 31. Iris offered a hub as well as several sensors and connected gadgets that communicated with the hub. Those devices will no longer work as of the end of March.

In theory, customers could find another hub to talk to their sensors. The Iris by Lowe's site offers Samsung's SmartThings as a comparable replacement that should work with a few Iris sensors. For any that don't, and the Iris hub itself, Lowe's is offering prepaid Visa cards. Head here if you have Iris gadgets and would like to file a claim with the company. 

Given that some gadgets are transferable and customers can get a refund for others, Lowe's is handling the Iris shutdown better than other extinct hubs. The popular Revolv hub ended up completely bricked when parent company Nest shut down the service and all compatible gear was rendered useless. 

Iris angered customers with a poorly handled jump from its first- to its second-generation hub. The migration tool wasn't ready at launch and a lot of first-gen sensors couldn't connect to the new hub and system. On top of that, the Iris app charged for some basic app-enabled smarts that were free with a number of competitors. 

This will be a bitter pill for customers who followed the brand through those murky waters and paid the requisite fees, but again, hopefully the prepaid cards help. That said, many will still need to essentially start over if their smart homes were built on the Iris app. 

A Lowe's representative emailed the following statement to CNET:

"We apologize for any inconvenience to our Iris customers and are committed to providing the resources and support needed to transition to a comparable smart home platform. We have created an online redemption process that will allow Iris customers to receive a Visa prepaid card for eligible, connected Iris devices.

"After carefully evaluating a range of options, the decision was made to shut down the Iris platform once it was determined that none of the alternatives would allow Iris to continue to deliver the experience our customers have come to expect of us. Lowe's remains committed to carrying the breadth and depth of smart home products and brands to meet our customers' needs now and in the future."

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