Home Automation

b8ta SmartSpots Bring Much-needed Innovation to Lowe’s Stores

Lowes launches unique store-within-a-store

We Visit b8ta in Palo Alto
HomeOn banner Earlier this year, we visited b8ta’s retail location in Palo Alto and interviewed CMO Phil Raub and the makers of Luma in an episode of Home: On that addressed the state of retail for connected home technology. You can listen to that episode or subscribe to Home: On here. Home: On is the Digital Media Zone’s podcast about DIY home automation and control.
We’ve highlighted some of retail’s failings in the technology space, but one of the shining lights challenging retail these days is b8ta. Founded with the intention of connecting product makers with consumers through a model that turns the business of retail on its side, b8ta offers what others have failed to deliver: an engaging, hands-on, out-of-box experience with products—real products…not just hollow plastic mockups. It’s been nearly a year since the founders, four alumni from Nest, launched b8ta as a small shop in Palo Alto. Now they’re expanding that vision to two additional cities with new store locations coming soon to L.A. and Seattle. And if you’re in California, you may also be lucky enough to find a local Lowe’s with a new SmartSpot “powered by b8ta.” Through a new partnership with b8ta, Lowe’s has introduced this store-within-a-store at three Lowe’s locations: Livermore, Burbank, and Aliso Viejo. Unlike Lowe’s connected home section, which features placeholder cards and product mock-ups glued to display shelves, the SmartSpot brings retails b8ta’s hands-on sensibilities to the floor, complete with real products out on tables with information presented on accompanying tablets. In Livermore, the SmartSpot section features LED lighting and wood flooring over about 400 square feet of the retailer’s space. It’s unknown whether Lowe’s intends to extend this partnership with b8ta to the rest of its retail locations, but one thing is certain: this is a vast improvement over Lowe’s otherwise disjointed and often disorganized approach to selling connected home technology. If you’re near one of these SmartSpot locations, check it out and let us know what you think. Source: lowes.com

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About the author

Richard Gunther

Richard is a product experience 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.