Yes way, actually. With Amazon taking over the retail world, big box retailers have been struggling to play catch up. But when it comes to the Smarthome, they are in many ways setting the pace. A recent article describes the activities by some of the biggest retailers. While the article does a good job describing the various initiatives in the space, the title - "Target among retailers trying to figure out how to explain the Internet of Things" - also suggests some of the challenges in that we have touched on before in this blog.
But let's start with the retailer initiatives. Retailers had been notoriously tough nuts to crack for startups, but this is changing quickly (and yours truly can attest to this). The biggest retailers are now proactively reaching out to startups that have interesting products, and looking for creative ways to work with them. And many are going one step further, allocating dedicated floor space in existing stores, such as Best Buy, or opening entire "experimental" stores in Silicon Valley, such as Target and Sears (you heard that right, Sears!). So it seems pretty clear that whatever direction the Smarthome takes, the big retailers are well positioned to play a role. And this is where things get tricky. There is no shortage of interesting Smarthome products but beyond the early adopter crowd, consumer interest is still sketchy. We've touched on this topic a few times before, and our contention remains the same - consumers need to start with something that serves a practical need, and that is cheap and simple. And that is what Korner is all about. The best Home security system for everybody and anybody at less than $100, and it sets up in minutes. From there, consumers can start exploring more esoteric functionality with inexpensive add-ons, at a pace and a price they are comfortable with.