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'Internet Of Everything' Pits Home Depot Against Lowe's

The DIY (do-it-yourself) trend is still thriving, as the two largest home-improvement franchises -- Home Depot and Lowe's -- go toe-to-toe (or should we say tool-to-tool) in competing for a large demographic of consumers - namely the self-made 'handyman.' Of recent date, however, another market of interest has emerged that both of these large chains find just as appealing, namely the opportunity to tap into the burgeoning IoE, 'Internet of Everything' space that appeals to those who would rather rely on TDI "things-doing-it," versus DIY.

411 on IoT & IoE

For those living under the proverbial rock, or are oblivious to how smart our things (clocks, refrigerators, thermostats, etc.) are becoming, the IoT is the Internet on steroids, one that's connected to an incredible variety of handheld, household and industrial gadgets - each of which is capable of transmitting mega-data without the necessity of human intervention.

More inclusive than the Internet of Things (IoT), the Internet of Everything (IoE) -- which was named by Cisco -- is more inclusive. As the Internet evolves, IoE is comprised of four pillars: people, process, data, and things. This essentially builds on top of IoT (one pillar: things). In addition, IoE further advances the power of the Internet to improve business and industry outcomes, by not only connecting to objects but more importantly to the smart networks that are required to support all the data these objects generate and transmit (i.e. software and hardware working in concert).

Out with DIY, In with TDI

So instead of pulling out our antiquated toolboxes, TDI is prompting consumers to purchase 'virual tools,' like sensors, Wi-Fi enabled appliances, apps and software as we transition from our Wild West pioneering roots to those that more approximate a Jetsons-style of lifestyle.

Wink vs. Iris

Both Home Depot and Lowe's have settled in on two similar but different smartphone apps that they're hoping will compete well and catch on with their consumers.

Just this month, Home Depot has been selling about 60 different 'IoE-friendly' products — including lightbulbs, window blinds, water heaters and security cameras — that customers can adjust or turn on and off through a smartphone app called Wink. (Wink was developed by Quirky, a New York-based tech start-up that sells other home automation products such as the EggMinder, which notifies owners when eggs go bad.)

Competing head-on with HD, Lowe’s has been developing and selling Iris, a software similar to Wink that lets customers manage their devices. Lowe’s initially began just selling the devices, but “the problem for consumers was they were getting confused by different offerings and what they could do? We believe customers needed one single app and one single user interface,” Kevin Meagher, head of the Smart Home division of Lowe’s, said in an interview.

Lowe’s customers can now access Iris free of charge when they buy a smart device from Lowe’s, allowing them to turn it on and off from their smartphones.

So while we head toward our Brave New World of 'smart homes,' and Home Depot and Lowe's compete for our disposable dollars, which service do you think will become the dominate technology of the future?

While the IoE is certainly an exciting time for all of us to witness, at the end of the day, there will have to be a system of protocols that become the standard by which all other 'things' are attached to or interface with.

With that being said - looking forward, where do you think the literal and figurative chips will fall - or will you remain loyal to the home improvement store that brought you to the dance, all the years ago - when you were still enamored by that old-school DIY craze of the day?

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Ron Callari
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