Home Depot, Lowe’s Bring the Internet of Things to DIYers

Home improvement stores, destinations for the do-it-yourself consumer, have long sold the hammers, nails and tools people need to fix up their houses.

Now large chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s are selling virtual tools — sensors, Wi-Fi enabled appliances and software — to help those customers monitor and control their homes from their smartphones.

It’s an attempt to tap into the Internet of Things — technologists’ term for a network of connected sensors, devices and objects. In its early stages, the Internet of Things attracted tech companies such as Nest, the connected-thermostat manufacturer bought by Google in January for $3.2 billion, and Smart­Things, a District-based start-up selling home automation kits.


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Ex-Amazon Manager Gets Funding to Help Retailers Battle His Former Employer

Guru Hariharan spent half-a-decade at Amazon.com AMZN +0.67%, but says he had little face-to-face contact with the man he considers his idol, CEO Jeff Bezos. A former junior engineer who rose up the company ranks before departing in 2009, Hariharan only ever talked to Bezos once in his five-and-a-half year Amazon career, answering questions for him and his senior executives during a three-hour annual review.

“If you think about labor as the most painful thing in life, that surpassed it probably,” says Hariharan, who remembers spending several weeks preparing a six-page document on the successes of Amazon Webstore, a service offered by the Seattle company to other business building online retailing sites.

Long removed from those ulcer-inducing meetings, Hariharan is hoping that his new startup, Boomerang Commerce, can turn the tables and cause Amazon’s CEO some headaches as it aids the e-commerce giant’s competitors. A big data analytics company that provides online retailers with price-tracking services, the Sunnyvale, Calif. firm announced on Wednesday that it had raised $8.5 million from Madrona Venture Group and Trinity Ventures that will help it expand its operations and offerings.

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Home Depot Starts Selling 3D Printers in Stores

Home Depot Inc. (HD), the world’s largest home-improvement chain, will start selling 3-D printers today in stores for the first time, pushing deeper into a market that was once the domain of engineers and hobbyists.

Home Depot is selling devices from MakerBot, a 3-D printer maker acquired by Stratasys Ltd. (SSYS) last year, in 12 locations as part of a pilot project, the companies said. The effort will include stores in CaliforniaIllinois and New York.

“It’s a pilot for us to test a potential disruptive technology, and to make sure we are on the forefront of a new innovative product,” Joe Downey, an online merchant at Atlanta-based Home Depot, said in an interview.

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Mahurin out at Orchard Supply

Steve Mahurin has left Orchard Supply Hardware, where the veteran home improvement merchant and retail industry executive held the title Chief Retail Officer.

According to the San Jose, Calif.-based retailer, Mahurin’s position was eliminated as the company transitions to a focus on operations and expansion.

“Steve was instrumental in helping us launch the vision and the brand,” said Bob Tellier, Orchard’s senior VP of merchandising. “Our needs now are in the areas of operations and execution, and that’s where we are focused.”


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