Target Open House is part retail space, part lab and part meeting venue for the connected home-tech community, and it will open to the public Friday at the Metreon shopping center in San Francisco.
The 3,500-square-foot acrylic “house” is a connected ode to the Internet of Things, replete with acrylic furniture.
In various rooms, guests can experience how multiple connected devices work together in real-life solutions.
For example, rather than simply showing how a smart baby monitor works, Open House connects it to other, sometimes surprising products such as a lamp, coffeemaker and speakers. Visitors can see how a baby’s movements prompt soothing music on a sound system and set a pot of coffee brewing in the kitchen.
A Mr. Coffee coffeemaker is teamed with Yonomi, a smart device, and Jawbone UP2 and UP3 fitness trackers are displayed on a screen that says, “A fitness tracker with a stylish side. Wearing and Caring.”
“What we’re trying to do is humanize and personalize the benefits of these products, as well as show them working in concert,” said Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer.
David Newman, director of Target’s technology innovation, said, “We don’t believe that we can predict the future and where we have to go strategically by sitting in a conference room table. [Open House] is really pushing some boundaries around experiential retail. We have great interactive platforms and everything is spread out. Another important point is that every product in the house is for sale.”
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. “From a strategic perspective, we see Internet of Things as a megatrend on the horizon,” said Casey Carl, Target’s chief strategy and innovation officer. “We’re using Open House to test the trend, both for us and for guests.”