Target opens a 3,500-square-foot store in San Francisco where people can explore how connected devices can work together in their homes.
As the Internet of Things continues to creep into every facet of our everyday life, a number of major retail chains have begun to embark on new initiatives to help facilitate widespread adoption. Among the brands leading the way are Home Depot, Lowe’s, Sears and Target, who has now opened the doors to an experimental space in downtown San Francisco. The aptly named Open House, which is being billed as “part retail space, part lab, part meeting venue,” will allow customers to go hands-on with dozens of connected home products.
Inside the 3,500-square-foot ode to the IoT, visitors will find one half of the space filled with rows of gizmos and gadgets, mounted on custom interactive displays with infrared cameras that activate whenever someone approaches. Meanwhile, on the other side, customers will be able to walk through a house-like setup with each room demonstrating unprecedented ways of how multiple smart devices can work in unison to create real-life solutions. A kitchen, for example, displays a connected coffee maker, slow cooker and scale.
“Instead of simply showing how a smart baby monitor functions, for instance, Open House connects it to other, sometimes surprising, products like a lamp and even the coffee maker and speakers,” Target explains. “Visitors can see how a baby’s stirring prompts soothing music on the sound system and a pot of joe brewing in the kitchen.”
While the space is designed to demystify connected home products and inspire guests to explore the world of smart home living, Target also plans to learn from Open House through real-time feedback from consumers as they interact with the products. The installation currently boasts 35 products — including everything from Sonos speakers to Hue lights to WeMo switches — most of which aren’t available online or at any of the retailer’s other store locations. This will enable Target to keep in line with the experimental theme of the area.
What makes IoT devices much different than other consumer products, say a tube of toothpaste or a bag of chips, is that a certain level of education is often required. Whereas online-only retailers can’t provide this experience, Target’s latest showroom space can in unique fashion. Target even plans to work closely with local hardware startups who want to show off their gadgetry through regularly held meet-ups, demos and tech talks.
Intrigued? Now open to the public, Target’s Open House is located at 789 Mission Street in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center.