Target has just launched Open House, a retail experience the brand calls “the most connected house on the block.”

Target has just launched Open House, a retail experience the brand calls “the most connected house on the block.” Located in San Francisco, Open House brings together the latest devices from the Internet of Things and gives visitors a taste of home life, as enhanced by smart devices.


Inside the acrylic, Apple Store-esque sample home, guests can see how a Nest home security system would respond to a break-in, how Hue lightbulbs and Sonos speakers would orchestrate an ambient morning, and how a Nest thermostat would set the room to the perfect temperature for getting out of bed in January.

The theatrics of this “tech funhouse” help solve an important problem for the Internet of Things—consumers just don’t get the value proposition of these devices from packaging alone. While online shopping has become nearly seamless, it lacks the wow factor needed to convince people their lightbulbs need to be smarter.


Plus the learning opportunity goes both ways. “Target Open House is a lab, so our ability to test and learn will be a key success metric,” said the brand’s experience manager at a recent design event. As consumers familiarize themselves with the connected home, IoT developers get real-time feedback on what’s working and what isn’t.

Accompanied by both optimism and fear, the “multi-trillion dollar opportunity” of the Internet of Things presents a major task for brands looking to bring it to the mainstream. Letting users test the devices in a sleek retail lab is a good start.