The Internet of Things at home is just taking shape--but if the latest initiative out of Lowe's is any indication, that shape will soon have four legs, a wagging tail and a lot of fur. 

The flourishing world of home automation is now expanding to the pet world. With a swipe on your phone, a new smart pet door lets you control your pets' access to your home when you're out.

The PetSafe pet door from Lowe's is among a series of new devices that the company introduced this week, all of which can be controlled on one single platform, Iris. With the Iris app installed on your smartphone, you can keep track of your puppy's movement when you are out shopping or working. Together with a collar sensor, the door also allows you to identify your own pet so that a neighbor's cat won't sneak in to steal food.

Besides the $220 smart pet door, Lowe's also launched three other smart kits including a garage door that will notify you when it's not closed, a window blinds controller that allows you to let the sunlight in with a single click, and a hose faucet water timer that helps you manage your backyard anytime, anywhere.

"These new products add more value to the smart home offering with new ways to improve home security and manage energy costs with DIY solutions to give our customers peace of mind year-round," says Kevin Meagher, Lowe's vice president and general manager in a release.

More and more retailers are getting into the space of smart home and connected devices. The four additional items add to the fifty existing smart kits that are compatible with Iris, a platform developed by Lowe's that can help users control their devices with a smartphone, tablet or computer.

Lowe's big competitor, Home Depot, also has its sights on the growing smart home market. Earlier this month, the home-improvement retailer partnered with Wink, a spinoff of Quirky's crowd-invention business, which is similar to Iris in that it connects smart devices on one app.

Through Labor Day, customers can buy two smart home products from different brands and get access to Wink Hub for 99 cents. This Hub serves as a single entry point for managing their smart devices. In comparison, Lowe's offers selected connected items with a free Iris hub. Users have to pay a $9.99 monthly fee to use advanced functions of the Iris app, such as talking to your phone to lock the pet door.


Published on: Jul 23, 2014