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John Lewis to explore Internet of Things and home automation

Wednesday, May 28th 2014 by Luke Thompson
Internet of Things technology to be investigated by John Lewis (Thinkstock/iStock)

High street giant John Lewis is investigating innovative technologies such as the Internet of Things.

John Lewis is set to trial Internet of Things technology through its innovative JLab initiative.

The department store chain is joining forces with five start-ups to explore ways to capitalise on a range of technological developments, from wireless sound systems for smart homes to an online 3D room planning solution.

Five nascent businesses have been picked by the retailer to occupy a digital space at JLab's London hub, where they'll be able to access proprietary technology from John Lewis, as well as initial funding of £12,500.

A 12-week incubation period will follow, after which one of the five firms will be chosen to receive up to £100,000 in further investment.

One of the finalists, Musaic, is developing a smart wireless sound system. Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said the high street giant is thinking about ways to take home automation technology such as this "to the next stage".

He told Computer Weekly that John Lewis is interested in ways the Internet of Things could interact with large electrical goods and explained the company is eager to be at the forefront of home automation tech.

"Large white goods, IT, sound systems – it will help us understand what people want from this emerging technology," Mr Coby added.

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