Smart home devices apparently don’t have the lasting attraction of hammers and nails. On Sunday, March 31, Lowe’s announced that its Iris-branded smart home devices were becoming defunct and the company pulled the plug on the platform. But one clever manufacturer seems to have saved the day. Hubitat announced that it would continue to support the devices, which include contact sensors, motion sensors, plug-in outlet, key fobs, and other connective gizmos through its recently released Hubitat Elevation home automation hub.
Late adopters were able to connect their Iris devices if they were using second or third-generation Iris devices but Lowe’s first-gen device users were going to be out of luck. That is, until Hubitat started tinkering with the devices and the back end of the Hubitat Elevation software. In a release, the company says that after just two weeks, it had developed a working prototype and even showed a proof of concept in a YouTube video.
It was a bold move and one that should attract the hundreds of inquiries Hubitat has received from Iris users with first-generation devices. The engineering team at the company has already integrated the home automation platform and included the fix in a new software release last week.
“We are doing the impossible, supporting Iris Version 1 Zigbee sensors on a platform that doesn’t require the cloud or an internet connection to work,” Patrick Stuart, vice president of Product and Business Development said in a statement. “We have an experienced yet scrappy team that just doesn’t take no for an answer.”
Hubitat released the next generation of the Hubitat Elevation home automation hub the first week of February, so it’s a fairly new device in the smart home market. Part of the hub’s attraction is in its wide range of compatibility with Zigbee and Z-Wave radio-enabled devices. The device is also compatible with digital assistants including Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, as well as standard smart home protocols including Zigbee, Z-Wave, Lutron, LAN, and cloud-connected smart home devices. While Hubitat isn’t the best-known smart home platform out there, the company recently launched a national advertising campaign to explain to potential customers how the Hubitat Elevation works.
As a mea culpa from Lowe’s, first-gen Iris device owners were offered prepaid Visas for their sensors. Those who hung onto them can now use their apology cash to buy Hubitat Elevation. The company has even offered a carrot for their newly acquired Iris customers, putting the $150 device on their website for a cool $100, with free shipping included.
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