LAS VEGAS -- Staples Connect might just be the tortoise of the smart home race. It wasn't a flashy, exciting option in 2014, especially when compared with buzzier platforms like Wink, that came hot out of the gate.
But there's something to be said for slow and steady. With itscurrently selling in over 500 US retail locations, a growing number of key third-party partnerships, and a feature-rich app interface for controlling everything that's quietly gotten very good, Staples Connect is looking just as relevant to the smart-home discussion as platforms that do a better job of grabbing headlines.
Executives from Zonoff, the platform at the heart of Staples Connect, were on hand at CES 2015 to demonstrate some of this year's new features and partnerships. Those include front-door integrations with high-end smart televisions and with Bose, too, both of which can help color the connected home with ambient visual and audio alerts. Staples Connect will also integrate with security panels, allowing users to customize their codes in the Staples Connect app, or program specific automations for when certain codes are entered.
Zonoff's team is quick to tout the relationships they've forged with third-party brands, citing the hub's support for the Lutron protocol as a key feather in its cap. They've perhaps also learned a trick or two from their fast-moving competitors -- a new promotion that gives you a free hub when spending at least $60 on smart home devices at Staples sounds an awful lot like a similar sales strategy from Wink that proved quite popular.
Moving forward, it'll be interesting to watch how Staples Connect does this year, with the competition crystalized into something much clearer than before. Aside from Wink, it'll need to stave off momentum from CES keynote. The growing number of products could also undercut the perceived need for a hub-centric smart home ecosystem this year -- as could ., which was and featured prominently in that company's
Staples Connect's answer for all of that? Slow and steady. After all, we all know how it turned out for the tortoise.