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Staples Connect Home Automation

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Has anyone else seen the new product line from Staples?

http://www.staples.com/sbd/cre/marketing/staples-connect/

http://www.electronichouse.com/article/staples_connect_aims_to_make_home_automation_easy

It looks very appealing. $99 for the base station is way below all the other systems I have seen. On top of that all you need is compatible products (dimmers, cameras, locks, outlets, blinds) all from major manufacturers and all the programming is done through the app.

It seems as though the products will be reasonable as well. A starter kit with the base station and a lock or dimmer is around $129. There is no monthly subscription so I have not found any hidden fees.

It will be released in November so it will be a few more weeks before I can get one for testing.
post #2 of 8
I haven't seen this one but I got a flyer in the mailbox for this the other day:

http://Lowes.com/IrisSafety
post #3 of 8
The staples system is interesting because it combines interesting new startup products such as doorbot and ivee with products from the big reliable companies like lutron and GE. It will be interesting to see the capabilities, limitations, and whether they will push paid add-ons like Iris does.
Edited by az1324 - 10/25/13 at 3:04pm
post #4 of 8

I've got a StaplesConnect setup right now and I like it a lot. I tried SmartThings and Indigo on a Mac first and wasn't happy with the cost and user experience.

 

On the other hand the StaplesConnect capabilities are currently fairly limited. You can schedule lights to come on and off, and can set schedules for thermostats. I'm doing this with Z-Wave now. Manual "Activities" are possible too, so you can tap one button and have a bunch of stuff happen.

 

Programming is fairly limited though. There's no IF/THEN option (if this gets turned on, then turn these other things off for example). There is also no variables support, so you can't currently have a "Day mode" and an "Away mode" and have different stuff happen when in those modes. SmartThings and Indigo both offered lots of options here but again the user experience for programming and operating the system was complex and/or ugly.

 

On the plus side it looks like they're improving the service quickly. The UI is pretty good on web, iPhone, and iPad and pretty much anyone can operate the system without training.

 

The hardware that's available on their store is competitively priced even vs. Amazon and the fact that they curate the list is a big help.


They recently announced Insteon support is coming and even though I've deployed quite a few Z-Wave switches and dimmers I'm not happy with them for various reasons and may try some Insteon gear soon. If StaplesConnect can talk to them like they talk to all the other gear, I'd be pretty happy.

 

So my current opinion is that StaplesConnect is simple, highly compatible, reliable, and priced really well. The true test will be how quickly they iterate on the app with new features, and whether they get serious about presenting the hardware in their stores (it's mostly online ordering right now).

post #5 of 8
Is it a closed loop system? I mean will it read the status of a device or does it just remember the last command?
post #6 of 8

Yep, it reads device status and after using it for several weeks it's very reliable. More reliable than my experience with SmartThings and Indigo. The app works well both at home and remotely.

 

I have run into a couple of situations where the system thought a light was on but it was off and vice versa. Not sure if it's the StaplesConnect or the switches. I'm definitely seeing some strange behavior from a bunch of Intermec CA600 dimmers I've installed that don't use a neutral wire (and are not very LED-friendly). I've had to remove them a couple of times and re-add them and all is well.

 

The app has a handy network re-scan feature which I've used when moving devices around the house.

post #7 of 8
(Intermatic CA600 dimmers not Intermec)
post #8 of 8
I saw this and instantly hoped for something that would be populous enough to become a target for programmers to hack in custom and more versatile firmware, but no compatibility for all my RadioRA 2 gear makes it kind of a non starter frown.gif
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