Lowe’s introduced a smart-home system that allows you to control thermostats and lighting or keep an eye on who comes and goes while you’re away.
The system, which is called Iris, has three versions: monitoring ($180), energy control ($180) and a combination of monitoring and energy control ($300).
The monitoring system relies on motion sensors to determine who enters and exits a home. A user can program the system to send notifications, such as when children come home from school, to the user’s computer or smartphone.
The energy-control system comes with a smart thermostat that you can control via your computer or smartphone. The energy-control system includes an electricity-outlet plug that can track a specific device’s energy consumption and send the information to the user. For example, a lamp’s energy use can be measured when it’s plugged into this outlet plug.
The Iris monitoring system’s premium service includes additional home programming and messaging features and costs $10 per month, but the service isn’t needed for the system’s basic monitoring functions.
Consumers can purchase the smart-home system at lowes.com. It also will be available at 500 Lowe’s stores by the end of August 2012.
First Alert, GE Jasco and Schlage are expected to introduce carbon-monoxide/smoke detectors, home lighting, and deadbolt products, respectively, that are compatible with the Iris monitoring system. However, no plans exist to offer home-security services through Iris, Lowe’s spokesperson, Sarah-Francis Wallace, tells Consumers Digest.
In recent years, home-security services have added similar remote monitoring and energy-control features, which you can read about in “On Guard: Next-Generation Home-Security Systems,” in the July/August 2011 issue of Consumers Digest.
– K. Fanuko