Roll your own connected home
Kits make it easy to get started, but the beauty of the system is that you can start with the hub and one or two things and built out from there. If my particular problem is that I routinely circle back two blocks from home to make sure I didn't leave the garage door open, a hub and this sensor can at least let me know if it's open, and I can always contact an installer if I'm not comfortable DIY'ing a Z-Wave solution to actual close the garage door remotely.
Using a connected hub to bridge multiple protocols and allow control by a single app is a smart idea, not just for Staples but also SmartThings and Revolv. And while every big event like CES and CE Week features more and more connected-home devices, none of the companies that integrate them has gained a ton of traction just yet.
Apple announced its own HomeKit tools for device makers to securely control smart home gadgets from an iOS device, but it remains unclear whether Apple will throw its weight behind a single protocol to spur its adoption, or surprise us with a hub-like, always-on device that was connected to our TVs all along. Staples is making a big push for its platform, with kiosks coming to 500 retail locations, but Google or Apple or even Samsung could always play the spoiler role.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.