Sears Holdings Corp. Thursday said it has acquired Internet of Things company WallyHome from SNUPI Technologies for an undisclosed amount.
Sears will also license technology and gain consulting services from SNUPI toward the development of future Sears Connected Solutions products.
The deal also includes Sears’ takeover of SNUPI’s lease of a tech development office on the University of Washington’s campus in Seattle, including four new employees.
We’ve noted before that the IoT-based Sears Connected Home is a natural fit for the retailer, which has long sold appliances and appliance systems, and that the space represents a unique opportunity for the company to rise up from its struggles.
Wally uses walls and a home’s existing wiring to create a sensor network. It alerts the homeowner of water leaks and changes and trends in humidity and temperature levels and can work with the Nest smart thermostat. This deal brings significant new possibility for Sears, and shows that the retail company also sees great promise in IoT.
“With Sears retail presence, strong brands such as Craftsman and Kenmore and their home services business, they will be able to efficiently scale the Connected Solutions business,” Jeremy Jaech, SNUPI CEO and co-founder, said in a statement. “SNUPI will focus on continued development of its unique communication platform technology for license to Sears and other connected home product manufacturers.”
The move is important for Sears because it’s an investment in development of new tech grounded in utility rather than flashiness. For all the fancy and outwardly alluring aspects of IoT, it’s likely that energy-saving and time-saving features are the future of the space, rather than items like internet-connected baby onesies that are fairly useless.
Sears already has a strong reputation in appliances like washer-dryers, refrigerators, and climate-control systems for the home, which can benefit from IoT by boosting those machines’ energy savings potential and bring control to homeowners’ smartphones when they’re out of the house.
“This acquisition reinforces our commitment to the Connected Solutions business and the technology that we think can help fuel our company’s transformation,” Sears president of Consumer Electronics and Connected Solutions Ryan Ciovacco said in a statement.