Once upon a time in a home automation galaxy far far away I used Iris. Iris which for those who do not know is a home automation platform from Lowe’s Home Improvement. I have always thought the approach of selling home automation through a home improvement store was a great idea, sadly finding someone who can answer any type of question regarding these products in a store the size of a Lowe’s is not easy thus they do a poor job selling it. Sales aside it is nice to see Lowe’s continuing down this path and giving its Iris line a refresh for the holiday season.
About a month ago I was in my local Lowe’s and I always look at the home automation stuff, I spotted an Iris Hub that was round and I had never seen before. Being pretty happy with my smartThings lately I did not purchase it as I really have no need but I did try finding some information online but could not find anything. Fast forward until the other day and I get an email from Lowe’s about Iris product updates talking about the new Hub I had seen in the store.
The Iris Wi-Fi Smart Hub is the upgraded Hub offering which now supports Wi-Fi which is nice but not something I am interested in as I believe something as important as the hub that runs your automation system should have a wired network connection. Aside from Wi-Fi, however, the Iris Wi-Fi Smart Hub now has an LED Light Ring which can give you visual alerts as well as a built-in speaker for audible alerts. This is a nice addition if your hub is in a place where you can see and hear it (but it shouldn’t be). The best addition to the Iris Wi-Fi Smart Hub, however, is that it now has a rechargeable backup battery which is a huge feature and one that all hub manufacturers should implement.
Lowe’s has also released some new Wi-Fi Smart Plugs in both the indoor and outdoor variety. While I am not a huge fan of WI-Fi connected automation devices it is nice to see more device options in the Wi-Fi flavor and I think people will appreciate the fact that it is yet another device where you will not need a hub. The design of the indoor plug is very nice and they actually thought about the other outlet in you receptacle by making it horizontal allowing for plugging in a second one into the same receptacle or just plugging anything you want into the other outlet.
The biggest thing announced, however, is the new Iris Wireless Security Camera. It is a battery powered 1080p camera that looks a lot like an Arlo Camera. I actually will be picking one of these up when they arrive at my local Lowe’s so I can compare it to Arlo. I did notice something though while reading the Iris blog post about the camera, the image file was named “Swann-Camera” which is leading me to believe the Swann is making the camera for Lowe’s which is not a bad thing at all as Swann makes some rather nice cameras.
On top of these major changed Lowe’s has also put a fresh coat of paint on the rest of the Iris branded products. The Iris Keypad now has a more rounded vertical design which is very nice looking but the Iris Motion sensors have now almost doubled in size and look rather ugly. That is pretty disappointing as I have always like the Iris Motion Sensor.
If you are one of the eight people who use Iris, let me know what you think of these new updated product offerings in the comments below.
I am passionate about the IoT and connected devices. Using connectivity to automate our lives will empower civilization to achieve greatness.