Staples Connect has announced immediate support for the Nest Thermostat, Bose SoundTouch Portable speakers, Hue Lux, and GE Link bulbs. New system updates allow consumers to add any of these devices to their Staples Connect system, while app updates on all platforms are purported to improve performance and speed.
We’ll look at these in reverse order. As we’ve mentioned in earlier posts, it’s been possible to use third-party ZigBee bulbs like the Hue Lux and the Cree Connected LED on the newer Connect hub by adding them manually. This, however, marks Staples’ first addition of connected bulb support since adding the LG Wireless LED Bulb in late 2014. Note that support for the Hue and GE bulbs requires Staples’ 2nd-generation D-Link hub.
One of the more interesting demonstrations we saw for Staples Connect at CES earlier this year was Zonoff’s integration with Bose. The latest update brings this to the platform, allowing homeowners to trigger favorite presets based on events or modes. When you come home, your favorite station or music genre could be playing to welcome you. Or when you go to bed, you could play your favorite soothing sounds to lull you to sleep. While we wish this partnership was with a more popular home multi-speaker brand like Sonos, the possibilities here are intriguing. How about a custom chime when the doorbell rings? Or a voice announcement that your spouse or partner has arrived home when the garage door opens? This is cool. This is very cool.
Finally, let’s look at the Nest Thermostat integration. This was necessary for Staples Connect to remain competitive, since the only thermostat integration offered previously was with Honeywell’s beige-box devices. Unfortunately, this integration falls short of what consumers will expect.
Upon adding a Nest Thermostat to your system, you’ll find that Staples Connect adds two devices for each thermostat it finds after authenticating through Nest—a thermostat and a temperature sensor. We’re still trying to figure out the purpose of the separate temperature sensor “device” that Staples adds since the thermostat information includes the current temperature and the sensor cannot be used to trigger activities.
Controlling the thermostat is more tedious than it needs to be. This is the only Works with Nest partner system we’ve tested (including Harmony, Insteon, and Wink) that requires confirmation of your changes before it will execute them. For example, changing the temperature requires making the appropriate changes, one click per degree (which we find ironic considering how light control in Staples Connect requires fumbling with sliders), then clicking an Apply Changes button. Further, Staples Connect doesn’t show or register changes to thermostat settings without refreshing the view or page. No other system we’ve tested has this limited asynchronous support for Nest.
We’re glad to see Staples Connect adding support for additional devices, though none of them are particularly new to the market. Our hope is that they’ll continue to add more timely device support and refine the experience so it’s on par with competitive systems.