Bonnie Cha

Recent Posts by Bonnie Cha

Iris Connects You to Your Home When You’re Away

Going on vacation is always fun and exciting, but there might be a part of you that worries about leaving your home for an extended period of time. What if someone breaks in? Did I remember to turn off the thermostat? Well, Lowe’s now has a way for you to check on your house remotely.

The home improvement retailer has teamed up with AlertMe, a smart-home technology company based in the U.K., to offer a product called Iris. Iris allows you to monitor and control your home using your smartphone, tablet or laptop.

There are three different standard kits you can choose from, starting with the Iris Safe & Secure package, which costs $179 and includes motion and contact sensors for your doors, windows and cabinets, an Iris Hub and a keypad. The Iris Comfort & Control kit is also $179 and focuses on energy efficiency with a thermostat and smart plugs for remotely controlling devices, such as lamps, inside the house. Finally, the Iris Smart Kit combines the contents of both packages and costs $299.

Lowe’s says installation is easy enough that it can be done by the homeowner. Once set up, you can use your computer or download the Iris app to your iPhone, iPod, iPad or Android smartphone or tablet to check on your home or control your connected devices.

Basic services include alerts via email, text or phone call whenever a sensor is triggered when the alarm system is on, the ability to power devices remotely and up to two minutes of video streaming if you have a camera set up in your house.

You can also upgrade to the premium service for $9.99 per month, which alerts up to six people when an alarm is triggered, allows you to schedule when a device is turned on/off and more. An annual contract is not required for the premium service, and you can try it out for free for two months.

Lowe’s says it is working with more vendors to develop more products that are compatible with Iris. GE Jasco and First Alert are among the latest partners.

Iris is available now online and is expected to be in 500 Lowe’s stores by the end of August.


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The problem with the Billionaire Savior phase of the newspaper collapse has always been that billionaires don’t tend to like the kind of authority-questioning journalism that upsets the status quo.

— Ryan Chittum, writing in the Columbia Journalism Review about the promise of Pierre Omidyar’s new media venture with Glenn Greenwald