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John Lewis smart home department looks to an Internet-of-Things enabled future

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John Lewis is looking to an Internet-of-Things enabled future, with the launch of a new smart home department.

The retailer has launched a 1,000 sq ft department dedicated to gadgets from an oven that can be turned on from the office to a bedside device that measures the quality of sleep, and a smart fridge that can submit an internet order.

The launch comes in response to John Lewis’ customer data. It says 18 times more people searched its website for smart home products in 2015, compared to the previous year, while 81% more smart home products were sold.

But while these products are sold online through the website, the department store says it’s important to showcase them in store, where customers who see, touch and feel futuristic products for themselves, are more likely to believe in them – and buy them.

“We are seeking to demystify the latest smartest technology for our customers,” says Johnathan Marsh, buying director for electricals and home technology at John Lewis. “In-store experiences are now key as we’ve seen customer demand for physical experiences before committing to purchase increase. To help customers understand which smart technology is for them, our partners have received extensive training to provide added value.”

The new technology is laid out in four interactive zones, ‘kitchen’, ‘entertainment’, ‘sleep’ and ‘home monitoring,’ within a domestic setting. Partners can demonstrate how smart technology responds to human behaviour.

For example, the Samsung Family Hub Smart Fridge has a built-in touch screen which brightens up automatically as someone approaches. It enables shoppers to buy online from their fridge, while a set of cameras inside the door mean they can view the contents of your fridge from your phone when out and about, and know when to buy milk.

Other products featured include Philips Hue lighting; Sonos PLAY:5 Wireless Music System; Nest Protect 2nd Generation Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm; an AEG smart oven and a Netatmo face recognition camera.

John Vary, innovation manager at John Lewis, said: “Smart home technology is designed to make life more convenient, and the introduction of this new curated experience – the first on the high street – marks a brilliant step in innovation for John Lewis. Showcasing the latest smart products, this experience demonstrates in a real-life setting, how technology has exciting and far-reaching implications for today’s lifestyles.”

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