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U.S. retailer Lowe’s to sell its Iris smart home business

U.S. retailer Lowe’s to sell its Iris smart home business
U.S. home improvement retailer Lowe’s will exit its Iris smart home business, said the company’s CEO at a recent earnings call.
Before the trade, the company will still sell the Iris line in the stores and continue to support Iris users. However, what the future buyer will do with Iris products and services is uncertain.

Lowe’s created the Iris smart home platform back in 2012, when smartphones became an increasingly popular medium to control home appliances. Lowe’s has developed the whole system, including a home hub that supports ZigBee, Z-wave and Wi-Fi, security cameras, smoke alarms and door/window sensors.
When the voice technology enters the smart home space, however, Lowe’s began to lose its advantage in the industry. The Iris system requires programming of home automation commands via smartphones, but users are seeking a convenient and more intuitive way to have an automated home.

Although Lower’s added Alexa compatibility in 2016, the system is still a closed system and requires users to do the programming mostly by themselves to have a smart home.
Furthermore, after users get Lowe’s system and gadgets at home, they still need to pay a monthly subscription fee to make everything works. While other firms provide subscriptions as an added option, Lowe’s puts it in front of everything. The business model may be difficult to accept for some consumers.
As the competition gets more intense, Lowe’s decided to sell the Iris business in the end.
Also, Lowe’s will close 20 stores in the U.S. and 27 stores in Canada. It will also close its retail operation in Mexico and exit its Alacrity Renovation Services.
“Our top priority in the third quarter was positioning Lowe’s for long-term success by identifying underperforming or non-core businesses and stores for divestiture. With our strategic reassessment substantially completed, we can now intensify our focus on the core retail business,” said Marvin Ellison, CEO at Lowe’s, in a statement.

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