CES 2013: Lowe’s Iris smart home system tracks elderly, pets

Your elderly parents, living alone, haven’t cracked open the fridge in days. Or they left the front door open late at night. Maybe they’ve fallen and can’t get to a phone.

Lowe’s tapped into the fears of children living apart from their aging kin with its CES display of its new Iris Care system, which among other tasks can send an email to family members when an older relative doesn’t get out of bed at the normal time.

Elderly users can also carry a $30 pendant that they can use to trip an alarm and reach emergency contacts in times of distress.


The senior-focused system expands on the basic, cloud-based Iris home monitoring effort that the world’s second largest home improvement retailer rolled out this summer.


Lowe’s hopes to create a one-stop shop that engenders loyalty from connected home consumers currently juggling dozens of different apps and gadgets from various producers to digitally shut off the lights, lock the doors or water the lawn.

Iris’ motion sensors, keypads, responsive plugs, thermostats and more are all controlled by a central hub the size of a Kleenex box. Consumers can get alerts, set alarms and otherwise remotely keep an eye on their house.

There’s an Iris system that emphasizes comfort and also another targeting security, both costing $179 and launched in July. A $299 Smart Kit consolidates both.

Iris Care, which is new, costs an extra $4.99 a month in addition to the $9.99 monthly fee for premium Iris services.

Lowe’s designed Iris as a sort of home-management Lego set, using portable, easily-affixed attachments that don’t require hard-wiring. The company has paired with dozens of partners, including Yale Locks, Verizon, Honeywell and Whirpool, to create add-on components.

Soon Iris will be able to notify homeowners of carbon monoxide content, set sprinkler controls, dim light bulbs, let up to five pets in and out of the house using a smart pet door and track water levels in potted plants.

Iris is available in 500 Lowe’s stores and online and is expected to reach all stores by year end.


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