Microsoft has been stepping up it’s smart home game as of late. Just last week it unveiled a new tech incubator for connected home startups, and today the company is back with yet another smart home announcement. Starting today, all Microsoft retail stores will carry a variety of different Insteon home automation gear.
Moving forward, stores will offer three different kits: the Insteon Starter Kit, Home Kit, and Business Kit — as well as five standalone devices, including Insteon’s Leak Sensor, Open/Close Sensor, LED Bulb, On/Off Module, and WiFi Camera. Prices will range from $29.99 to $79.99, with kits starting at $199. Microsoft retail employees will also be trained to help assist customers with questions regarding setup.
For those of you who might not be familiar, Insteon is one of the longest standing home automation companies in the game. The company’s proprietary radio technology was designed to bridge the gap between oldschool powerline-based automation systems and wireless ones, so it’s been around for quite some time — long before all this new-wave DIY Internet of Things stuff existed. Because of this, Insteon systems have one big advantage that other systems dont: the ability to work even when your home broadband network goes down. The brains of the system work even when the cloud isn’t available.
But despite it’s long tenure as a home automation company and fairly robust product offering, Insteon as struggled in the past few years to keep pace with other rising powers in the increasingly crowded home automation space — i.e. ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth. This partnership is likely to help out with that though, as it will undoubtedly give Insteon some much-needed exposure, while also helping Microsoft boost its smart home cred.
It’s still too early to call, but at this point this partnership looks like a win for both parties.
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