After months of speculation and the launch of a new website, today Lowes finally launched the second generation Iris with a nationwide rollout and availability of the revamped offering in all of its stores and online as of today.
I talked to the new Iris head. Mick Koster, about the forthcoming launch last week, and you can hear that talk in its entirety on the podcast player embedded below.
Below are the main highlights of Iris 2.0:
- The new Lowes Iris hub features Z-Wave, Zigbee, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth as far as radio technologies. Bluetooth is new, but not entirely surprising, as the former head of Iris, told us over a year ago. It also has an on-board app engine, another way pof saying on-board services and connectivity will work without connectivity to the cloud, a must-have IMO when talking smart home.
- The company is working closely with Microsoft on this, evidenced by the emphasis in the official announcement about the use of Microsoft's Azure IaaS/PaaS platform as the backend for the Iris cloud. The hub also works with AllJoyn, which may have been partly due to the Microsoft partnership. Microsoft is pushing Alljoyn as an IoT connectivity framework.
- Centralite, a product design and engineering services firm focused on IoT, helped design and push the hub to manufacturing.
- The move to an entirely new technology stack means that the company is actively trying to migrate all Iris 1.0 customers to the new hub. They are offering the new hub for free to all existing Iris customers.
- The new hub is $59.99, almost half the price of the original Iris hub.
- The company is continuing with its freemium model with a basic service for Iris hub customers and an upgraded experience for a $10 subscription, but they are offering more features in the free service with this new launch. Some of the old features from the premium service they've moved into basic are personalization
and push notifications.
- The Iris universe of compatible products is now at 75. Mick told me new devices should come on board faster with the new platform since they own the technology and have beefed up their internal software team. Previously they had to wait AlertMe to do work to add any new devices.
Overall, it's a big refresh and from the looks of things, Lowe's remains committed to Iris. On the call Mick had some other interesting points - such as the average Iris install now consists of 9 devices - and you can hear some of this data and more in the podcast below. You can also download it as well.