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Try IoT before you buy IoT: Google, B8ta let you ‘test drive’ smart home tech

Have you ever wanted to try out a product beyond getting a brief demo in a store? The startup B8ta believes all customers should be able to do that, and it has partnered with Google to make it possible. Smart home technology becomes more complicated as the devices add more features, so customers can be less willing to pull the trigger on a purchase if they aren’t completely sure it meets their needs.

B8ta sets up its retail spaces like a home. Think of Ikea, but instead of showing off furniture, the store shows off smart home tech in a natural setting. The experiences went live at seven of B8ta’s flagship locations, including stores in Austin, Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. Each of the demo experiences is modeled after a different room of the home, allowing users to see various kinds of tech in the office, the kitchen, the bedroom, and more.

Janell Fischer, Google’s director of marketing, made a statement about the showcase. “We’re excited that Made by Google products are now available in the majority of B8ta locations across the country. We’re always looking to make it easier for customers to try and shop our products, and this is a great example of that coming to life.”

Displays beside each product explain what it is, what it does, and how much it costs. Customers can test out different devices and look at pricing options before they decide to buy. This lets you get a better feel for whether you want to implement the device into your home, or if you have any use for it. On-site personnel called “b8ta testers” can also help you make an informed decision and answer questions you may have about the products.

B8ta has grown by leaps and bounds in the past year, first through a Shopify-like platform, and then through a series of funding rounds with Macy’s as one of its backers. Google seized the opportunity to make smart home shopping easier for customers and brought the company into the limelight. If you’re near one of the flagship stores and are interested in picking up some new smart home tech, pay B8ta a visit and try out the gadgets for yourself.

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Patrick Hearn
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Patrick Hearn writes about smart home technology like Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, smart light bulbs, and more. If it's a…
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