The Lowe’s store around the corner may seem like an unlikely influencer of open standards, but Kevin Meagher, the VP and GM of Lowes’ Smart Home Division, was brushing elbows with IoT technologists at Gigaom’s Structure Connect Conference last fall, speaking on a panel with Joanne Domeniconi, co-founder of The Grommet, and Kif Leswing of Gigaom. The discussion underscores the need for OpenStand’s principles of openness, availability, and voluntary adoption in the world of smart home devices.

As the IoT begins to expand, retailers like Lowe’s have become key players in the sales of smart home devices. This gives brick and mortar retailers with relationships to smart home vendors an interest in participating and influencing the standards that govern these devices. With an eye on device use, data sharing and interoperability, retailers like Lowe’s have new skin in this game. According to Meagher, the smart home market can only grow if devices can interact, stating, “We believe fiercely in open standards. Everyone needs to open up their APIs.”

Meagher admitted that while Lowe’s may not be a trusted technology brand, they are a trusted consumer retailer. Customers come to Lowe’s to solve precisely the same problems the IoT seeks to resolve.  “Customers don’t care as much about how a device does what it does, as they do about the value proposition,” Meagher said. An individual customer may not be able to articulate it, but they are looking for machine-to-machine (M2M) communication where smart home devices are able to communicate with each other without human interference. They want a seamless experience across devices. Open standards are necessary in order to facilitate this. OpenStand covered this in previous blog post.

We’ve embedded the panel discussion above for your convenience. While the session raises important privacy and data sharing questions related to open API and third-party access to data produced by smart home devices, we applaud the energy and intentionality that Lowe’s and other smart home thought leaders are putting into open standards.

What are your thoughts on the need for open standards in the sphere of smart home devices? We’d love to hear them in the comments below! To join us an advocate for the five core principles for open standards development.