You might have heard about “connected” technology, also known as the “Internet of Things” (IoT), which connects everyday items like thermostats and door locks to the Internet in the name of personalization, convenience and efficiency.
But you’ve never experienced it like this.
Target Open House – part retail space, part lab, part meeting venue for the connected home tech community – opens to the public tomorrow in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center.
This 3,500 square-foot ode to IoT features a transparent, acrylic “house” complete with acrylic furniture and detailing that makes the house feel right at home among San Francisco’s “Painted Ladies.”
But the house isn’t just for show. In its rooms, guests will experience vignettes that demonstrate in unprecedented ways how multiple connected devices can work together to create real-life solutions.
Instead of simply showing how a smart baby monitor functions, for instance, Open House connects it to other, sometimes surprising, products like a lamp and even the coffee maker and speakers. Visitors can see how a baby’s stirring prompts soothing music on the sound system and a pot of joe brewing in the kitchen.
“Putting a house in the space, we felt, was the most relatable and welcoming way to introduce these products,” said Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer. “What we’re trying to do is humanize and personalize the benefits of these products, as well as show them working in concert. It’s really about relevant storytelling and creating a destination for engagement and discovery.”
While the space is designed to demystify connected home products and inspire guests to explore the world of connected home living, Target also plans to learn from Open House.
Target and its partners will get real-time feedback from consumers interacting with the products. Plus, the space will help make connections for Target and others by regularly hosting meetings – from tech talks and meet-ups to product demos and product launches.
“From a strategic perspective, we see Internet of Things as a megatrend on the horizon. We know it’s going to generate huge value,” said Casey Carl, Target’s chief strategy and innovation officer, whose “Enterprise Growth Initiatives” team created Target Open House. “We’re using Open House to test the trend, both for us and for guests.”
Located at 789 Mission Street in San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center, Target Open House opens to the public on July 10. Hours are 10am-8pm on weekends and 9am-9pm on weekdays, except Thursdays when the space will close at 5pm to host events.
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