How retail will bring the internet of things to the mass market

The internet of things is growing every day, and while connected home devices are becoming increasingly popular, they still remain something of a niche market. At this year’s Mobilize conference, Staples senior merchant of new business development Peter Gerstberger and Zonoff CEO Mike Harris shared their ideas for bringing the internet of things to the mass market.

Staples recently partnered with Zonoff to introduce Staples Connect, which uses a universal hub and multi-platform app to control connected devices throughout the home. But before developing this platform, Gerstberger explained that he needed to see a vision of how it would work on the consumer level.

“I asked the networking guys to basically put me into a room where all of this product could work together through one hub and one app. It was a big ask, but really I saw that as the true vision for where this needed to go, if it was going to be brought to the mainstream and pulled out from early adoption,” Gerstberger said.

Staples Connect is powered by Zonoff, and uses a free, single app to control connected home devices. After being approached by Staples, Harris explained the thought process for developing the Connect platform. “What are the right products for consumers? What are the right brands? We really focused on building a huge ecosystem with the big players, but leaving that open so a lot of emerging companies can get involved as well,” he said.

The new, interactive Staples Connect retail kiosk is being shown at Mobilize for the first time, and Staples and Zonoff are hoping it will spur further interest in the internet of things, and introduce it to a much wider audience.

Check out the rest of our Mobilize 2013 live coverage here, and a video embed of the session follows below:

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A transcription of the video follows on the next page