When the Associated Press (AP) posted a story about Best Buy selling ConnectedLife.Home, a package centered around Exceptional Innovations’ (EI) Windows Media Center-based Lifeware home control system, EI immediately drafted a clarification letter to its dealers and got in touch with the trade press.
The package “is not rolling out in Best Buy Co., which is what the AP story says,” explained Mike Seamons, EI’s vice president of marketing. “It is rolling out in Best Buy for Business, which is a whole organization attached to every Best Buy [that offers] professional installed IT services.” Best Buy for Business has traditionally offered services to small businesses; ConnectedLife.Home, however, will be aimed at consumers.
The package, priced at $15,000, will pair Lifeware with a specific group of products, which, according to Seamons, includes an Insteon lighting control system, an RCS thermostat, Panasonic cameras, HP’s z560 Media Center, an Xbox 360 and “a host” of networking products and accessories. “No matter how you slice it, the Best Buy ConnectedLife.Home system is only compatible with certain products,” said Seamons. “You can’t connect a Lutron system to it, you can’t connect a Vantage [Controls] system to it, you can’t add Russound audio. It’s limited to the products that Best Buy is selling.”
Available for pre-order next month, with actual installations to roll out once the Windows Vista-enabled Lifeware 2.0 debuts soon after, ConnectedLife.Home will be offered nationwide; for example, said Seamons, “you can order a system in California and they will install it in California.” Because the official announcement wasn’t supposed to run until the Consumer Electronics Show, said Seamons, “we haven’t announced the details of the rollout, but you can imagine that in the stores there will be an area where Best Buy for Business is promoting the ConnectedLife.Home package to customers.” Over the course of 2007, he said, ConnectedLife.Home will be promoted and available in every Best Buy store in the Best Buy for Business section. “You may not have it as a display in [a particular] local Best Buy store under Best Buy for Business until, say, July, or March, depending on where that store is at,” said Seamons, who wasn’t yet sure which Best Buy store would be the first to display ConnectedLife.Home, or whether any advertising campaign would be associated with the rollout.