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Staples’ IoT focus pivots from home automation to smart office ordering

With competition in the home automation market growing, Staples is stepping away from its Staples Connect platform while continuing to focus on building the Staples Easy System smart-ordering service.

Staples Connect is an application-based platform for managing smart home devices such as thermostats, sensors, appliances and more. While Staples will no longer be selling the products in its stores or online, Z-Wave Products will continue to offer customer support and Staples Connect and Zonoff will make updates to the app.

“Changing market dynamics and a focus on more business oriented solutions has led us to this decision, which we do not take lightly, as we know it will impact some of our valued customers,” Staples said in a statement. “However, we will be there to support them through the transitionary period.”

Customer connections
Staples launched the Connect service in late 2013 as the Internet of Things started to quickly accelerate. It consists of a mobile and desktop app that links to a hub so users can connect with enabled appliances and electronics no matter where they are.

The goal was to deepen connections with on-the-go consumers and small business owners and initial results were promising, with customers interacting an average of eight times per day during an early pilot.

However, the connected home space has quickly heated up over the past couple of years with a number of big players, including Amazon’s Alexa, aggressively going after the market.

Consumers can use any of several Alexa-enabled devices, such as Echo, to control their homes and, increasingly, to research products and services through brand integrations as well as transact.

Smart ordering
Staples is by no means completely walking away from the IoT market. Instead, it appears to be focusing away from a home-oriented approach – where the brand is not necessarily top of mind – to one focused more strongly on office solutions, where Staples is already a leader.

Earlier this year, Staples promised consumer-grade mcommerce innovation for office supplies with the newly rebranded Staples Business Advantage platform and a focus on enabling customers to order products and services on any device, anywhere, at any time via the Staples Easy Button, email, text or voice. The new platform, which is currently in testing, gets smarter over time, remembering past orders and anticipating customer needs.

“Staples will discontinue selling Staples Connect, our home automation system, in our stores and online,” said Staples, in a statement. “We will be partnering with Z-Wave Products to continue to offer customer service support through or by calling 1-800-380-1518.

“Z-Wave Products and home software company Zonoff will also make updates to the Staples Connect App to ensure that it continues to operate with our customers’ existing home automation products.”