Today, Target opened its 3,500-square-foot "Target Open House" in San Francisco's Metreon shopping center (pictured above), which it described on the company blog as "part retail space, part lab, part meeting venue for the connected home tech community."
Once inside, visitors are presented with a transparent, acrylic "house" (see below photo), whose rooms display Nest thermostats and smoke detectors, Sonos Bluetooth speakers and all kinds of other connected home devices.
But the interactive, live devices don't simply just sit there for you to look at and try. Their connectivity is demonstrated on the walls themselves: Linear graphics shoot across the wall from one device to the next. For example, when an alarm clock speaker plays music in the bedroom, it sets off a chain reaction, prompting one nightstand lamp to illuminate with soft light, and then the other nightstand lamp turns on as well.
There's a video on Target's Open House blog post that shows the experience in action. It's worth checking out.
Re/code's Jason Del Rey and Liz Gannes wrote about their media preview visit to the Open House yesterday (July 9).
The Target Open House is not just a showroom: All 35 connected devices and appliances on display are for sale too.
"(With the new Open House), Target is attempting to accomplish a few things," they wrote. "It already sells roughly a third of the 35 Open House products in its retail stores, and ideally would like to sell more of the most promising ones in the future. Establishing an early relationship with these companies, the thinking goes, may give Target an edge when new ones are ready for brick-and-mortar retail.
"The facility will also serve as a 'welcome' sign to the Internet of Things industry as a whole, with the company hoping the space becomes a popular events spot for entrepreneurs."
The Open House also features an open showroom area (pictured above), which uses a touchscreen table application called Yonomi to create an interactive browsing experience between the various devices on display.
Target is quick to emphasize, however: This is not simply a showroom. All 35 of the connected devices and appliances in the space are indeed for sale.
Don't be surprised either, if you see some of the Open House's experiential retail technology eventually appear in a Target location near you. The company is open to exporting the best parts of the Open House to its nearly 1,800 stores, Del Rey and Gannes wrote.