Home Automation

It’s Dead, Jim…Dead

We knew this day was looming, but now it’s finally come. The Staples Connect smart home hub is now dead. Staples stopped supporting the product about two years ago, and last Spring the hub’s steward, Z-Wave Products, notified registered users that its days were numbered. Like so many smart home solutions, Connect depended on cloud services, and nobody was maintaining those anymore with Zonoff more or less defunct now. There’s a chance that some device pairings may still work for some users, but the apps and web management portal are no longer available.

Staples Connect's dead server
Staples Connect’s dead server

We’ve been writing about this product since its introduction back in 2013. You’ll find numerous posts and discussions at the DMZ that document our impressions and analysis of this offering and its ultimate demise. I’ve even opined on Medium about it.  And I, personally, have still been using the hub to enable automation and control otherwise unavailable from any other DIY solution. Somewhat fortuitously, I ended up removing the Connect at my home just last week.

Despite all the talk about hubs going away with voice assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant now being many consumers’ point of control, some hobbyists still depend on devices like SmartThings and the Wink Hub to tie disperate products together for scheduled and inter-dependent events. Services like Yonomi, IFTTT, and Stringify help fill those gaps, but we’re not ready to call it yet for the good-old hardware hub.

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About the author

Richard Gunther

Richard is a digital technology consultant with a life-long interest in consumer electronics. He has been immersed in smart home tech for decades now and hosts The DMZ's home automation podcast, Home: On and co-hosts Entertainment 2.0 with Josh Pollard. Richard looks at products through an experience lens, always seeking the right mix of utility and delight.