Lowe’s will shut down its Iris by Lowe’s Home Automation platform on March 31, according to an email sent to subscribers on Thursday. As part of the shutdown process, customers will no longer be charged for service after January 31, and they’ll be compensated for purchased devices that operate only work on the Iris by Lowe’s platform.
The announcement follows Lowe's unsuccessful 2018 effort to sell off Iris as part of a restructuring effort led by new CEO Marvin Ellison. Lowe’s plans to continue selling smart home products in its stores, however, and in select locations through a partnership with B8ta, which operates store-within-a-store showrooms.
Lowe’s first smart home system debuted in 2012, and the company replaced that platform with a second-generation hub three years later. Iris by Lowe’s was always hobbled, however, by the nature of its being a somewhat closed ecosystem in a world where DIY smart home owners want to mix and match components from different vendors. While Iris had all the devices you’d want—including security cameras, sensors, smoke detectors, and more—Lowe’s made it too difficult to add products that Lowe’s didn’t sanction.
Many of those devices were built using the same technologies that power other smart home platforms, but they were tweaked in ways to render them proprietary. Lowe’s made promises about expanding support for third-party smart home products, but dragged its feet for much too long. Here are just a few examples: It took Lowe’s until late 2017 to support Philips Hue smart light bulbs and Nest’s third-generation thermostat, and it didn’t support Lutron’s Caséta line of smart lighting controls until 2018.
The good news: Consumers who invested heavily in the Iris by Lowe’s ecosystem will be eligible for compensation. According to an email sent to subscribers, Lowe’s has established a process to help them migrate to another smart home platform. The email specifically mentions SmartThings as “a comparable platform to Iris, and to ease the transition, SmartThings’ support team is ready to assist you with the migration process.”
If you’ve purchased any Iris product within the last 90 days, but didn’t connect it to the Iris hub, you can return the product to Lowe’s for a full refund. If you’ve already added it to your Iris hub, or if you purchased an Iris device more than 90 days ago, you can either log in to your Iris system to find instructions, or point your browser to http://home.irisbylowes.com/redemption by March 31, 2019. But the email hints that Iris by Lowe’s users will be compensated only for Iris products that are not compatible with other smart home platforms: “Some devices incompatible with other smart home platforms are eligible for redemption.”
“Redemption” will come in the form of a prepaid Visa card, according to the email. We have reached out to Lowe’s for additional information and will update this story when we receive it.