John Lewis has recently opened 1,000sq ft of space dedicated to smart technology, CE Pro Europe took a look around at some of the gadgets currently on offer and even got a sneak peek at John Lewis’ future plans.
Situated on the top floor of its flagship Oxford Street store, John Lewis has gone all out on smart home technology. The company revealed that before deciding to open the space, it had put a lot of research into whether it was viable or popular with the average customer. The feedback it got was immense, with the company so confident in the product that the first smart home opened in arguably the most expensive and public places to trial a new concept – its flagship Oxford Street store.
While an installer will likely never step foot inside a John Lewis store for their smart home fix, it’s a significant move by the retailer. John Lewis is one of the UK’s largest department stores and it is increasingly taking on electrical retailers with its huge range of technology. It’s also a significant move for consumers, as the presence of smart home technology on the high street will likely raise awareness of what’s available and those wanting even more oomph could always complement their consumer-grade products with offerings from the likes of Control4, Crestron and Loxone.
For the consumers taking their first steps into the smart home arena, then John Lewis has said that it will be with them every step of the way. While currently the retailer is recommending local installers for products such as the Nest Learning Thermostat, the company has revealed that there are plans to offer its own installation services – meaning everything that is currently offered in the John Lewis smart home can be installed in a consumer’s home without them lifting a finger.
The company has yet to reveal exactly when it plans to launch its installation service, but confirmed that it had briefed its staff on its impending release. There’s also no word on how much it will cost.
So what is on offer in John Lewis’ Smart Home? According to the company’s smart home experts, its most popular offering is currently the Philips Hue and Sonos line-up of products. Customers have also shown interest in Nest’s Learning Thermostat – but no where near the number of people who are keen to have Hue lighting or Sonos speakers.
The other products on show include an AEG smart oven, Nespresso smart coffee maker, Dyson Air Purifier, Netatmo camera and weather station, the S by Resmed sleep monitor, Samsung’s smart washing machine and Nest’s complete range of products – including the camera and Nest Protect.
Custom installers will likely be unimpressed by the offerings John Lewis has available, but for the average consumer considering smart home technology, they’ll find a good selection of products to satisfy all their techy needs.
The John Lewis Smart Home is divided into four separate sections; the kitchen, living room, bedroom and an area to demonstrate all the products that users may want to control when they’re outside the home.
The flagship smart home product on show at John Lewis’ Oxford Street store is the Samsung Family Hub – a smart fridge that costs £4,500 and comes with a built-in touchscreen and in-built camera to view what’s inside. John Lewis also admitted that it has yet to sell a single smart fridge, although it’s only been a week.
While the fridge comes with Samsung’s SmartThings integration however, John Lewis has opted not to show the technology off – CE Pro Europe’s main disappointment of the retailer’s smart home. Had the retailer chosen to show off Samsung’s SmartThings and how it could have tied everything together – from the Nest thermostat and Philips Hue, which there were plenty – then they could have potentially opened up the consumer’s eyes to home whole control from one device.
What made this particular omission even more obvious is the fact that in the living room of John Lewis’ smart home is a 2016 Samsung Smart TV – a device that acts as a SmartThings Hub for connecting all these devices together.
Of course this is John Lewis’ first attempt at showcasing smart home technology in this way – in fact it’s the first high street retailer to do it – so it’s obviously going to learn lessons. The company admitted as much, saying that by the time they roll out the concept to more stores, they will have adapted it and improved it based on what they learn at Oxford Street.