Consumers who have stuck with the once-promising Staples Connect hub after Staples divorced itself from its former, ambitious project have been wondering how long their Staples Connect hubs might still keep operating. Well a recent offer from the hub’s steward, Z-Wave Products, may signal the day we all knew would eventually come.
Recall back to last year, when Staples handed over the Zonoff-powered hardware to Z-Wave Products. At the time, Staples assured consumers that Z-Wave Products would continue to market and sell the hardware ecosystem while Zonoff would provide continued support for the software and cloud platform upon which it depends (for some undefined amount of time). It appears that we can now better quantify that amount. The trouble is that Zonoff, for all intents and purposes, is gone. And while we’ve wondered what that meant for the Somfy, Staples, and ADT systems that relied on the platform, we haven’t really known how that would play out (aside from the anticipated legal sword rattling by ADT).
It’s Just Mostly Dead
Based on new communications from Z-Wave Products, we can likely gather that the end is near for the Staples Connect Hub. A recent email message to Staples Connect owners notes that with Zonoff’s closure, “technical support for the Staples Connect platform and correlating mobile app will no longer be available, and the future of the host servers is unknown.”
Staples Connect users looking for a replacement controller for their Z-Wave, Zigbee, and Lutron devices may want to consider the Wink Hub 2 as an alternative. Wink supports many of the same devices plus many others that Staples never evolved to include. Z-Wave Products is offering Staples Connect customers a $15 discount on the Wink Hub 2, which is nice but kind of useless since Amazon already sells the product for less.
To be clear, the Connect isn’t quite dead yet, but its days are numbered. Be ready for that first technical glitch that its supporting cloud platform just won’t recover from. The thing we’ll miss the most with Connect, despite all of its limitations and tortured UX, is a capability that no other device has yet provided—the ability to use Lutron’s inexpensive Pico Remotes to control any device in your home. But keep an eye out on this one: Wink offers similar capabilities for Lutron’s Connected Bulb Remote, and if what we learned at CES is true, they may be doing the same for Picos sometime soon.