News Feature | March 8, 2017

Target Bolsters Internet Of Things Sales With Its Own Branded Smart Lamp

Christine Kern

By Christine Kern, contributing writer

Target Check-Out Glitch

Mobile-controlled lamp marks first time a retailer has created and marketed a connected product.

In an innovative move, Target has designed and begun selling its own smart lamp under its Threshold home furnishings brand according to the San Francisco Chronicle, a development that is believed to be the first case of a retailer creating and marketing its own Internet-connected home décor product.

“We’re figuring out what it will take to actually create these products, not by doing that in a boardroom with Post-it Notes and a whiteboard, but by walking the talk and trying it out,” Gene Han, who heads Target’s San Francisco innovation office, told the Chronicle.

The table lamp is available in the Open House section of the Target store at San Francisco’s Metreon shopping center, near where the retailer created Open House in 2015 as a showcase for smart Internet of Things devices. Target recently announced the re-launch of its Target Open House, an Internet of Things store that provides guests with hands-on interactions with new connected device products and services and also gives entrepreneurs a place to commune and learn. First opened in July 2015, more than 150,000 guests, entrepreneurs, and Chief Product Officers from more than 75 different companies have visited the space. The idea behind the Target Open House was to demystify connected home technology for customers and to provide a space for entrepreneurs to exhibit their wares.

“Putting a house in the space, we felt, was the most relatable and welcoming way to introduce these products,” says Todd Waterbury, Target’s chief creative officer. “What we’re trying to do is humanize and personalize the benefits of these products, as well as show them working in concert. It’s really about relevant storytelling and creating a destination for engagement and discovery.”

The lamp can be controlled via mobile app, or by a standard on/off switch — an option some smart devices don’t offer. The lamp comes in table, floor, ceiling, and a taller table version, all available on its website, grouped together under Threshold's Ara Collection aegis.