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Best Buy's ConnectedLife One-Ups Geek Squad

ScuttleMonkey posted more than 7 years ago | from the home-in-a-box dept.

113

Retail writes "Best Buy is going to sell a packaged solution of Media Center plus home automation. Literally, it's a package — a box. A customer walks into a Best Buy store, delights in the demo, buys the package, and waits for its arrival in a big box about four-foot square. The package costs $15,000. For that you get a Media Center PC, Lifeware automation software from Exceptional Innovation, an Xbox 360, IP surveillance cameras, automated light switches, a thermostat and installation. It's a complicated business model, called ConnectedLife.Home, and it's bound to pit the new group against other Best Buy factions like Geek Squad."

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weeeeeeee (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361640)

i want it i want it i want it fp?

Re:weeeeeeee (2, Funny)

Mr. Flibble (12943) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361708)

You know, Slashdot should start selling a "first post" in a box. Given how much people seem to want it, they might just sell them for $15,000 a piece.

The question would be, if the box comes with Cowboyneal inside....

Re:weeeeeeee (1)

NoMaster (142776) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362080)

You know, Slashdot should start selling a "first post" in a box. Given how much people seem to want it, they might just sell them for $15,000 a piece.
Might do, too. They certainly seem to be of more value than the average FPP story these days, and they'll save money on "editors"...

services (2, Insightful)

bmecoli (963615) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361648)

sure, it may be 15K, but just wait until we convince you to get a 3 year Product Service Plan and a whole bunch of geek squad services... not to mention accessories then it'll be 20K ;p

Re:services (2, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361798)

Crap...a BSOD in the dead of winter could be a bitch!!!!!

Re:services (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362282)

WOW this joke hasn't been made yet in this thread 5 other times. YOU ARE A COMEDY GIANT

no flushy, flushy (1)

fedthedawg (993364) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361654)

i can't believe that it does not have an automatic flushing toilet.

Just wondering (4, Funny)

edwardpickman (965122) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361658)

Does it come with the loan application?

Re:Just wondering (1)

apostrophesemicolon (816454) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363036)

NO,
but for the low low interest of .5% a month, you can trade a fraction of your mortgage towards payment of this hyper-connected, worry-free, your-life-on-surveillance-by-BestBuy-24/7 wonderful life.

$15k (4, Funny)

Infonaut (96956) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361682)

Like most Best Buy customers, I should be able to afford this package. At $15,000 it's a steal, really.

Re:$15k (1)

thebigbluecheez (1010821) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362376)

Best Buy thanks you for your business, Barry

Re:$15k (1)

Ucklak (755284) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362412)

Looks like I just have to sign up and get this thing, Buzz.

Re:$15k (2, Informative)

OmnipotentEntity (702752) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364564)

Before any crazy mod decides to mod the parents as Offtopic, Barry and Buzz are some of internal names the different Best Buy Customer Segments.

Everyone who works there has to remember them.
  • Barry's a rich fucker, who can be a tightwad sometimes (most of the time.)
  • Buzz the guy who goes to Best Buy to shop for a high end computer (*rolleyes*)
  • They also have Ray, who represents the people who can't afford all of this shit, so they give them credit cards.
  • And finally, they have the Old people's segment, who's name escapes me at the moment.


*Cue The More You Know*

Fuck 15k (-1, Offtopic)

Cybert4 (994278) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361696)

I want to become a powerful and intelligent planet. That'll be more like, uh, 15 trillion dollars. Plus you get to kill everyone else afterwards. W00T! Unicron baby! Jupiter brain, baby! F all you small thinkers.

I imagine... (2, Funny)

Baricom (763970) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361700)

...that they check your receipt very carefully as you leave.

Re:I imagine... (1)

sharkey (16670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362748)

Because they don't trust those customers who arrange for delivery and home installation of the item they purchase?

Dualing Factions! (2, Funny)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361710)

It's a complicated business model, called ConnectedLife.Home, and it's bound to pit the new group against other Best Buy factions like Geek Squad.

Wow, imagine the mêlée at the company picnics.

[unsure whether to tag this "biz" "automation" "slownewsday" or "slashertizement"]

Re:Dualing Factions! (1)

Psion (2244) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364318)

Yep, for some reason I keep imagining at least one fellow wadding up aluminum foil sheets and throwing them while yelling, "Lightning bolt! Lightning bolt!"

Re:Dualing Factions! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17366252)

"slashertizement", as I have no idea how one group can "one-up" each other. Geek squad provides onsite support, ConnectedLife supports only the connectedlife product. Whoever promoted this as a "battle" is an idiot.

Doing the same thing to my house (3, Interesting)

HeadbangerSmurf (649736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361712)

I'm in the middle of a home automation install but I'm not using the software/hardware Best Buy is going to pushing. I'm putting in a Home Automation, Inc http://www.homeauto.com/ [homeauto.com] Omni IIe controller with UPB control for my lights. I have the thermostat and keypad installed and wired into the controller. Once I get my media server back I'll be installing the web based control software and then figuring out how to get the old XP MCE based software to install on Vista. So far the system is incredible but it's definately not something the average Joe is going to get into. I'm doing it myself because I'm a geek (saying that while posting on /. is redundant, right?) and actually I'd like to start doing it professionally. I've already got the computer networking business, why not add home automation and computerized audio/video to it? The high end stereo place in town does no automation and they don't want to get into computer based media. Sounds to me like a market that needs filling.

Tom

Not that geeky... (2, Insightful)

fireboy1919 (257783) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361856)

Once I get my media server back I'll be installing the web based control software and then figuring out how to get the old XP MCE based software to install on Vista.

I'm doing it myself because I'm a geek (saying that while posting on /. is redundant, right?) and actually I'd like to start doing it professionally.

So you're going to buy essentially premade stuff and install it using the constraints given to you by the makers of the software. Can't think of a more un-geeklike way of going about it. Using Vista isn't a point to your credit, either.

A geekier thing would be to use Mister House [wikispaces.com] at the very least...making the control system an old PC would make this even better.

You also lose a few geek points for using hardware you didn't design yourself, and for using newer, more expensive equipment (geeks design on a budget, which in this case would be buying the much cheaper X10 hardware).

All in all, I'd say you're operating a lot closer to a geek-squad member than an actual geek. But they stay in business.

If it's new enough, even low-skill work can be high paying.

Re:Not that geeky... (1)

HeadbangerSmurf (649736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361908)

I understand what you're saying but I have two very important reasons for doing it the way I am - my wife and the people I want to sell this to. Sure, I'm impressed as hell with Mister House, especially the APRS capabilities, but if the PC died and my wife (or clients) couldn't control things I'd be in trouble. I'm going this route because of what I want to be able to sell and I'll be targeting people who think $15k is a nice amount of money to spend on a weeks vacation. Using an old PC for an automation system won't get me in the door of the people I'm aiming for. As much as I'd love to make a statement by using old PCs and linux and what have you, I'd rather use a commercial product will make people comfortable so in the end I can feed my family.

Re:Not that geeky... (1)

saleenS281 (859657) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362028)

So exactly what gap are you filling that Best Buy isn't already doing? Their starting point is 15k, and they can go up from there... Sounds like the "client base" you're going after would much rather have a large corporation like Best Buy backing it up because they know Best Buy will be around in 5 years if something breaks. What exactly are you offering outside of being a fly-by-night (regardless of whether or not you really are, that's what you'll represent for about 10 years)?

Re:Not that geeky... (1)

HeadbangerSmurf (649736) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362194)

What am I offering that Best Buy isn't? Knowledge and experience. My experience in the home automation market may not be great but my networking experience is. I'm at the end of my fourth year as a small business owner, my company is successful and growing, and I've got a great reputation here. I spent 6 years with another company in this area before I went solo (I actually went back to the big(ger - where I live isn't that small anymore) city first but returned because of all the people that followed me to my new employer) and since then I've been nothing but busy. I have four employees and am looking for a fifth. In the last year we've branched into IP telephony using Asterisk (I'm a long time Cisco guy but Asterisk is incredible bang for the buck) and we're kicking some major ass in that field. My home install is our test bed/demo system. I'm taking the first step to learn this stuff (just like anyone else would) and I'm sure we'll be selling our first system in the next three months. Since I've been in this field, in this area, for more than 10 years I don't believe the fly-by-night tag applies to me. Either way, because of the area I live in, I'm not too worried about Best Buy. All they've done so far is increase my workload because of the stuff they screw up for the area businesses cheap enough to hire them. I may cost more but at least shit works when I leave.

Re:Not that geeky... (1)

djhack (515503) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362484)

you might want to take a look at pluto home, plays nice with * and media servers
also UPB is way too costly, it's cheaper to properly install x10 (dedicated, filtered circuits for x10 power elements and filters built-in in every outlet)
at the cost of UPB you'll get a chilling effect "then will just install it where we need it, not just everywhere", makes the system a lot more inflexible and pricey in the long run

Re:Not that geeky... (1)

Paul Carver (4555) | more than 7 years ago | (#17366292)

X10 Hardware is so miserable. I can't vouch for the stuff being mentioned above, but I can certainly testify to the general crappiness of X10. I am so sick of slow unreliable X10 junk. I've got filters, signal boosters, and and a signal analyzer, but X10 still just isn't reliable and even when it works it's slow.

If designing on a budget at the expense of quality and functionality is a geek requirement then I guess I'm not a geek. But maybe I am a geek since I haven't ripped out all this X10 crap yet and replaced it with something that works well.

The Target Market is Clear (2, Funny)

pHatidic (163975) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361716)

For the obscenely wealthy person whose never purchased anything.

Re:The Target Market is Clear (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362048)

As someone who has spent a lot of time working with the billion dollar business types (1.62Bn actually) who deal with things like securing the gateway to the home and home entertainment/automation, I can tell you that this isn't about actually selling a sufficiently large number of the things for this venture to be a money spinner on the whole package - this is about promoting products for a particular use - The key item in that list is the Xbox 360.

This is about showing off a product in an "Ooh! Wow!" remote controlled lighted, CCTV 'protected' setting for people who don't play games, but are middle aged and like cool toys without having to do any of the research in how to put them together. This is paving paths for IPTV to the living room over a Microsoft product who's current version is called the Xbox 360. Check back in 5 years time and you'll see.

Re:The Target Market is Clear (1)

teh_chrizzle (963897) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363566)

the very existence of the geeksquad proves that there are 'tards out there with more money than brains.

Marketing Hype (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361730)

Don't buy in to this nonsense. There are no feuding factions inside Best Buy; if there are, it's because the illusion suits the marketing department. The idea is absurd, their respective products don't even compete. Once again, a company's marketing department tricks Slashdot editors in to presenting the pre-packaged product with the pre-packaged spin. Why doesn't the headline say "Best Buy offers over-priced home automation kit?"

Expect more from your press release aggregators.

Re:Marketing Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361884)

Don't buy in to this nonsense. There are no feuding factions inside Best Buy

Too bad-- I'd actually spend my own money to see a to-the-death battle royal of useless Best Buy employees! Anything else I purchase in that crappy store is paid for via gift cards received from other people.

I think only an idiot would buy this package from them. I can only imagine how much money they'll try to squeeze from a buyer for ongoing maintenance of such a hodgepodge of equipment.

Re:Marketing Hype (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362846)

I'll betcha its all proprietary code too.

In three years, good luck trying to find anybody to support it.

No-one but Corporate Executive types can afford such frivolous expenditures of resources.

Using Microsoft software ? (4, Funny)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361742)

So what happens when your house gets a BSOD ?

And do you have to reboot it every night ?

Re:Using Microsoft software ? (2, Funny)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361868)

Not so bad. If they have 15 grand, I'm sure they have a few flashlights. Only problem is some geek knocking at your door offering to install linux and snorting about how terrible windows is every time your house crashes. Ugh.

Re:Using Microsoft software ? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361974)

So what happens when your house gets a BSOD ?
 
And do you have to reboot it every night?
I suppose the real question would be is that any better than your house getting a kernel panic and having to fsck your house every night? Maybe that's why so many /.ers like Linux because it's the only fsck they'll ever get.
 

Re:Using Microsoft software ? (1)

Salsaman (141471) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362032)

And you have obviously never heard of a journaling filesystem.

Re:Using Microsoft software ? (1)

jpardey (569633) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363050)

Journals are for people who never fsck...

Re:Using Microsoft software ? (2, Funny)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364092)

That explains Myspace...

Reboots are Highly Overrated! (1)

bmac83 (869058) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362900)

I find that defragging my house semi-weekly is a great way to keep my house running at optimal speed. You might not know it, but everyday house tasks cause household items to be rearranged strangely. This causes a significant decrease in performance.

Re:Reboots are Highly Reccomended! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17367232)

Your house seems to have crashed
Would you like to Vaccuum the toilet NOW.
Would you like to flush the refrigerator Now.
or Defrost the furnace.
Clippy rulz

Then the sales person will ask... (1)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361754)

... "Can I tell you about the Best Buy Performance Service Plan for this item? For only 10% of the purchase price, you get ...".

It's an exercise for the reader to determine what happens next.

Re:Then the sales person will ask... (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361848)

The Best Buy sales rep will then go into a sob story about how his ConnectedLife Home package died in 110-degree heat in the middle of the desert and how Best Buy's Performance Service Plan saved his life.

All he had to do was part with $1,500.

Re:Then the sales person will ask... (1)

geobeck (924637) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362034)

"For an extra $3000, I'll sell you this little blue button to get you down."

Another best buy qualified employee? (1, Interesting)

www.sorehands.com (142825) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361760)

Given my experience in talking to the Geek Squad, I would not trust the technical qualifications of anyone associated with Best Buy. When I complained to the management in the Sunnyvale store about my friend paying for an unqualified diagnostics of a drive corruption problem, she resented that I said that, "she paid for a diagnostic by someone qualified, not someone who just finished collecting the shopping carts." The employee said she resented it because "I don't collect shopping carts," not that she is unqualified to do a diagnostic.

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (0, Troll)

pwizard2 (920421) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361934)

Given what I've heard [bestbuysux.org] [bestbuysux.org] about Best buy, I would venture to guess that your experience at that store is the norm rather than the anomaly. I've known people who work there, and they have had similar experiences, so the rest of it is probably true, too.

The biggest mystery is how BB stays in business when most of it's stores are primarily staffed by greedy and/or incompetent fools with only a few good people.

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (1)

twiddlingbits (707452) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362938)

I've had a microwave fixed by them twice (under warranty) and each time they did good work and did it on time. Each problem was different too. I don't and wouldn't buy anything computer related from them, it's overpriced and usually not the best models.

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362024)

When I complained to the management in the Sunnyvale store about my friend paying for an unqualified diagnostics of a drive corruption problem

Why didn't he just take it to you?

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362230)

One of our users took his leased and under warranty corporate supplied T41 Lenova laptop to BestBuy over a weekend because it was running "SLOW". We have a 24x7 help desk and 1hr service on weekends to our office so I have no idea why he did not call us, own IT department but anyway...

BesyBuy replaced the "failing" HD and put a fresh bare bones version of XP on his machine. He lost all of his documents and all of his corporate applications, the computer was no longer in our domain blah blah blah and some of his hardware did not work (wireless and network card, wrong video drivers etc..). His laptop was now useless to him. On Monday we gave him a new laptop so he could work and he gave us the one he had. I do not know the entire story but about a week later he brought the "failed" HD back to us as we needed that for our lease and waranty coverage. Our hardware guy checked it out and reinstalled it back into his machine and it had no problams at all. Installed a fresh image on that machine and it was placed back into our pool of laptops.

He obviously did not have a hardware issue and did not need a new HD. He may have had a legtimiate software or spyware issue but a HD and a fresh install of XP is not the fix for for that. I'll admit it though that a new HD with XP is probably a cheaper solution then spnding hours troubleshooting a software issue. Of course with all of the corporate software he had and needs to work, it was not the best solution after all. We use standard ghost images and can push over the network so it only takes us about 15 minutes from start to finish to deploy a new machine.

Bottom line, he got screwed by BestBuy.
The most frustrating thing about this is BestBuy completely trashed his laptop, he lost a weekend of work because if it. We gave him a fresh laptop within minutes of him contacting us and he bitched and complained and wrote letter to our CEO about how us, the IT department caused him to lose a weekend of work. Funny how a "senior" member of a company will openly complain about those under him but yet will never take that same frustration out on Verizon, Bestbuy, the taxi driver when they screw up.

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362668)

Yeah, that's ridiculous but from what I hear typical. Without a fair bit of work, it can be hard to get rid of some viruses and spyware (especially if you're trying to fight it live rather than running a LiveCD...) But, yeah, you'd think they would have at least a) hopefully backed up documents. b) reinstall c) MAKE SURE DRIVERS ARE THERE. Yeah, that's super ridiculous that the video and network drivers were not even setup.. If I'm setting someone up, I also recommend AVG, Ad-Aware, firefox, and openoffice to them as well. (I've got a CD with firefox and openoffice I bring along with me and put those on if they want.)

        Yeah, also ridiculous that he bitched out IT for his not taking his machine there...

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (1)

glitch23 (557124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362818)

And people will also respond to the last thing you said (especially since it was the more obvious of the two accusations) because it is the freshest item on their mind. Given the ability to review the whole statement and formulate a response she may very well have come up with "I'm not unqualified to do diagnostics". Try changing the order of your statement next time and see what happens.

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (1)

mackyrae (999347) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363528)

I confused the "Geek Squad" when I booted from a live cd to test a laptop's hardware's support on Linux. They didn't get that it didn't require them to reinstall Windows. They also look at you all funny if you say "Linux" then say "uh....I'll look on Google. hold on." They're pretty stupid.

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363866)

So you base your whole opinion of a company that has probably 10,000 geek squad emplyees on what happened with one of them. Im sorry but when you hire 10,000 emplyees you're bound to get a few that arent all that great. Its the law of numbers. Some people are great at faking interviews btw.

Re:Another best buy qualified employee? (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367608)

Well, first impressions are lasting impressions. Maybe a little unfair but if I had one dealing with a company and that dealing was obviously very bad, I have nothing else to base my opinion on. There are a lot of things a person can assume based on one personal experience as well. I recently took my car to the dealer to have some major work completed under warranty (engine block replacement). When I got it back, it had a terrible and loud vibration from idle all the way to 4000 rpm (very obvious to anyone near or in the car), there was antifreeze all over the transmission which smelled as it slowly burned off (another very obvious problem), and there was a large cosmetic cover (about 2 sq feet) that sits on top of the engine that was missing. These problem are very obvious issues. Sound, smell, for one and the missing parts? Does the mechanic or anyone in the shop not realize there was a huge plastic cover laying around in the work area and no one thought, wow, I wonder where that goes? I actually got a new cover when I returned the car for a second time to correct those issues so the original one obviously disappeared.

Maybe these are the signs of a single bad mechanic at the dealership but IMHO, these problems indicate a lack of good supervision or lack of any type of quality assurance program at this specific dealer. There may be excellent mechanics at that same facility as well. Without some type of checklist or quality assurance system in place, you are basically forced to take your chances and suffer through the bad ones as well. Same with your Geek Squad example. You are stuck taking your chances and hoping for the best. Not a game I like to play.

Two dimensional box? (5, Interesting)

nacturation (646836) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361790)

A customer walks into a Best Buy store, delights in the demo, buys the package, and waits for its arrival in a big box about four-foot square.
So the box is flat? Or is each of its six faces four square feet (two feet by two feet) in area? Or did they get both wrong and it's actually four feet cubed?

... it's bound to pit the new group against other Best Buy factions like Geek Squad.
Note that the submission was sent in by "Retail", likely some Best Buy marketing drone who tried submitting this multiple times but got rejected because, after all, who actually cares that they're selling some prepackaged junk with an insanely high profit margin? Finally, this drone added some fake sensationalism "ooh... an inner struggle within Best Buy" and managed to get it accepted. Yawn.
 

Re:Two dimensional box? (1)

durandal42 (881756) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362544)

For what it's worth, there's a difference between "four feet square[d]" and "four square feet". The former is 4x4, the latter is 2x2 (or the same area in a different shape). The same applies to "feet cubed" and "cubic feet". So, if each face is four feet square, the entire box is four feet cubed.

Re:Two dimensional box? (2, Informative)

sharkey (16670) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362762)

Yes, this is a Slashvertisement. The "submitter's comments" are just a copy and paste of a CE Pro poster named Julie Jacobson, who gets chided for her poor math skills there as well.

Thankfully... (5, Funny)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361794)

... it includes a $14,900 mail-in rebate.

Re:Thankfully... (1)

Joey Patterson (547891) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361872)

And a $100 instant rebate.

Re:Thankfully... (3, Funny)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362206)

Unfortunately, that's a european decimal notation.

Re:Thankfully... (1)

Plaid Phantom (818438) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364234)

Fortunately, none of the Best Buy drones are bright enough to know the difference.

MIR (1)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362434)

Actually, mail in rebates are something we have to do now. Nobody used to ever report on that stuff until someone started putting "AFTER REBATES" on the ads. Once there was one company doing it, the rest had to follow suit or look too expensive.

If there was a rebate on the package in question, it would make the in-store price actually higher and you would have to get reimbursed for the balance. So if the advertised price is $15000, then if there were rebates the in-store price would be about 5-15% higher and you would get that from the vendor, but only if you did every step exactly as explained in the fine-print when trying to claim your rebate. One of the best tactics vendors use for saving money on rebates is to come up with a reason NOT to give you the money.

Re:MIR (1)

nolife (233813) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362606)

How recent is "something we have to do now"?

Some places that were heavily into rebates are starting to get away from them, BestBuy is one that is moving away. IMHO, those companies just starting will eventually learn what the others before them now know. There are some short term benefits for the retailers but for the long haul, consumers get used to it across the similar stores selling the similar products with similar rebates and then the consumers finally get frustrated enough and move along.

An example is most electronics retailers had rebates on anything related to computers but not on car and home stereos and not on appliances. Now that just about everyone is doing rebates on computer stuff, that trend should start to go away as the competitive advantage is over shadowed by the consumer frustration and the other products will start getting them. I assume at some point, you may even start to see clothes and food with mail-ins attached, auto parts and tools have already started doing it. Places like JCWhittney and Harbor Freight are doing it and others are catching on. Oh, a new market segment we can prey on!

Rebates, some people love them, others hate them, I fall under the hate category.

Re:MIR (1)

mfh (56) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363616)

Rebates have always existed, even back to some of the very earliest trade manuals dating back pre-industrial revolution -- vendors have offered them to those who have requested them. The difference is that now companies just let you know about them. I'm pretty sure I'd rather know what they are than no know. The products you buy without MIRs attached might have some available and you can usually ask the manufacturer directly about that.

If you prefer bliss to knowledge, that's your business. ;-)

SALE!! (1)

linux pickle (974544) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361830)

$15,000?!?! I've never seen such a good boxing day deal at Best Buy! Count me in!

Do it yourself as a fraction of the cost (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17361896)

What is so special about it? You can do it yourself at a fraction of the cost. Probably you wont have all the functionality of the commertial thingy but who cares? NOBODY is willing to pay $15000 for it.

Survey SAYS... (5, Informative)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361902)

Before you mod this "redundant", at the time of this posting, no one else has actually done the math, just guessed...


For that you get a Media Center PC
Averages around $900 [prostores.com] , but they use the HP z560 [circuitcity.com] at $1800...

Lifeware automation software from Exceptional Innovation
This one took some work. The closest I could get to a price, $5000 [cepro.com] , includes hardware. But it puts us at an upper limit, at least.

an Xbox 360
The easiest to find, at $400 [amazon.com]

IP surveillance cameras
They use a pair of Panasonics (not sure of the model number), around $380 [newegg.com] each.

automated light switches
FTA: "five dimmers, five switches, two keypads". Home Depot [homedepot.com] , $80.

a thermostat
Again, no model number given, but the standard model [asihome.com] goes for $270

and installation.
Not really - They want you to have the "hard" parts done yourself, by a privately contracted licensed electrician.



The package costs $15,000.

Total so far, $8310 (not counting your own electrician).

So, not counting needing to hire your own electrician, that puts the cost of their installation at roughly ... $6690.



I've made some pretty damned good wages doing contract work, but over $6k for less than a day's work? Wow, talk about a dream job...

Anyone that wants this system - Hunt me down for contact info. I'll do it for a third less (you pay airfair outside the continental US, and though I know how to work safely with home AC systems , you'll probably still need a licensed electrician to do this legally in most places).

Marketing Insight (1)

yosofun (933530) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362096)

Well, as always, there will be the real geeks and the wannabe's. BestBuy mostly tailors to the latter kind, who'd blow money like this off just so their snazzy friends would start treating them like the tech messiah they're not.

Moreover, note how the package is named... it's definitely a name that'd reach out to their preferred latter-type marketing audience.

Re:Marketing Insight (1)

ReverendHoss (677044) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362358)

Well, as always, there will be the real geeks and the wannabe's.

Best not to forget the legions of crusty old-timer geeks who are confused why anyone would need anything more than an on/off light switch and a VCR.

Re:Survey SAYS... (1)

daviddennis (10926) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362388)

What models where you using for the light dimmers/switches? I know the fancy ones (smarthome.com's upmarket range) go for as much as $60 each. That doesn't change your essential point but is still worth noting.

I don't think this will be a successful product. For $15k, I expect everything to be handled for me, including the electrical done by a properly licensed electrician. I think you could find an electrician to do this for a few hundred bucks, so why don't they simply add one to their crew?

If I'm going to pay prices that probably amount to MORE than a 100% markup, I expect real service in return. I think I would go with an independent person who's done this before and can subcontract the needed electrical work. If I have to be a general contractor and coordinate Best Buy and an independent electrician, I'd might as well buy the stuff separately and hook it up myself.

D

Re:Survey SAYS... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362520)

Without looking at the specific outlets and light switches, I'd assume based on past experience with various similar products that the electrician is only needed to swap out the existing switches and outlets boxes. That is definitely a DIY type of job. As you stated though, some areas may require a licenced electrician. In my county, that is permissible without a permit or licenced electrician. IMHO, the whole thing is a DIY but obviously not for everyone, for those that do not want to DIY, this still seems very expensive.

Re:Survey SAYS... (1)

cjjjer (530715) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362532)

You forgot the HD TV they are also providing, I would assume that it's somewhere in the 42-50" range from the press pictures I have seen. So you might want to add another 2k-3k on top of that depending on what make and model they are using.

Also from what I have read in other press articles on this they actually recommend going with an electrician to do the electrical work.

Re:Survey SAYS... (1)

pla (258480) | more than 7 years ago | (#17365074)

You forgot the HD TV they are also providing, I would assume that it's somewhere in the 42-50" range from the press pictures I have seen. So you might want to add another 2k-3k on top of that depending on what make and model they are using.

Yes, all the pictures show a sweet widescreen plasma TV... But not always the same one, and the list of items that comes in this 15k package does NOT include a TV (if you have a more comprehensive list, please provide a link?).

So sure, the buyer might want to add another 2k-3k on top of that $15k. But I don't think they'd leave out mention of the second most expensive item in the kit in their advertising literature.


Also from what I have read in other press articles on this they actually recommend going with an electrician to do the electrical work.

Thus I wrote (quoting my post to which you responsed):

and installation.
Not really - They want you to have the "hard" parts done yourself, by a privately contracted licensed electrician.

Re:Survey SAYS... (1)

homer_s (799572) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362558)

Total so far, $8310 (not counting your own electrician).

So, not counting needing to hire your own electrician, that puts the cost of their installation at roughly ... $6690.


It is, if you ignore overheads, profit, cost of capital...

Re:Survey SAYS... (1)

Monkeyman334 (205694) | more than 7 years ago | (#17366034)

Those are retail prices for equipment. It's already marked up.

What a strange procedure to put customers through. (3, Funny)

Junta (36770) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361926)

waits for its arrival in a big box about four-foot square.
Customers have to wait in a big box about four foot square until Best Buy delivers it???

Thud! (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361932)

I can hear the lead balloon falling. Fifteen grand? What are they smoking?

Pricing (3, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361940)

  • HP z560 Digital Entertainment Center - $1800 list
  • XBox 360 - $400
  • 2 Panasonic wireless cameras - $265 each
  • One communicating thermostat from Residential Control Systems - $217
  • Ethernet/powerline adapters from Corinex - 3 @ $199 each
  • Five dimmers @ $40 ea
  • Five switches @ $40 ea
  • Two keypads @ $150 ea

That adds up to $4,244. They want $15,000 for this gear, installed. What's wrong with this picture?

Re:Pricing (1)

bigsam411 (1043552) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362738)

well you did not include the software like this [cepro.com] which can cost up to 5 grand. while Best buy would still make insane profit margin off of it, they are also not catering to people like you who are a bit more knowledgeable. They are actually catering to people who have the money and do not have the time or knowledge to do it themselves. My point is that wealthy people do not care about prices for high end stuff like this.

Misleading story and description (5, Insightful)

staeiou (839695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361948)

How exactly is this supposed to create a rift between the retail drones who sell hardware and the Geek Squad who fixes it? They are two different branches of the company.

This isn't a story. Stop selling ad space in our stories, OSTG. You've got them everywhere else.

Re:Misleading story and description (1)

Inthewire (521207) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363044)

You mean the shitheads in Beetles that blow by me (because I drive the appx speed limit) like paramedics?

Right (1)

jayhawk88 (160512) | more than 7 years ago | (#17361980)

It's a complicated business model, called ConnectedLife.Home, and it's bound to pit the new group against other Best Buy factions like Geek Squad."

Kind of like how the new Ferrari dealership is going to compete against the Toyota dealership across the street.

More like.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362184)

More like how the new Ferrari dealership is going to compete with the mechanic across the street.

cheaper solutions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362216)

As always there is more than one way to do something like this
for the security camera side of things there is zoneminder http://www.zoneminder.com/ [zoneminder.com]
a linux solution for monitoring security camera's

very configurable also very complex.

I've been playing around with security camera's a simple windows program is dorgem which will take a feed from a cctv camera plugged into a tvcard it has a built in webserver so easy to monitor from most locations.

zoneminder is far more flexable allowing you to configure area's of interest and setting up custom alarms

In other news.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17362254)

In other news... Mercedes Benz just dropped their prices down for the holidays, $7,995 for a NEW fully equipped 2007 S series available at your local Mercedes Benz dealer.

Internal competition (1)

h0tr0d (160151) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362730)

I hardly think this will put any of Best Buy's internal units against each other. First off, there will be the $2500 service package they will sell you to configure your firewall, anti-virus, anti-spyware, and I suppose anti-nosy neighbor. Then the end user (being the technically inept we all know they will be because anyone technically capable will build it themselves, not buy it in a box) will lock themselves out of their very own home automation system requiring a mandatory Geek Squad service contract and on-site repair. "no, ma'am, we don't know your password, but for $99.95 we will come out and reset it for you"; "no ma'am, we don't know (or care) that its 32F in your house but we will gladly adjust your thermostat for a discounted fee of $69.95." I imagine the Best Buy execs are dreaming of all those wanna be techies with money and see this as the last great cash cow. In-fighting withing Best Buy, I doubt it!

Too pricey for no automation (1)

RJBuild1088 (968537) | more than 7 years ago | (#17362990)

Well, it's already been established that this whole package is way overpriced. But what hasn't been pointed out is that the actual package isn't what you need to automate your home.

So, what is home automation? Every day your coffee maker turns on at 6AM. Your computer speaks the weather report and the daily headlines. Can lifeware do that? Lifeware is a fancy MCE interface, that can control your home. But it can't automate your home. I've used HomeSeer [homeseer.com] for almost a year. It's more DIY than this package, but isn't that what every Slashdot user is looking for?

Something else that hasn't been mentioned - INSTEON. This is a new technology, but it's based on old X10 powerline. It's unreliable, and everything I've heard about it has been riddled with problems. Z-Wave is what I have in my home, it's RF based and the more devices you add the more reliable it becomes. 15 grand for old technology? Z-Wave is about the same price and it can defintely do far more.

By that time (1)

mkiwi (585287) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363316)

By the time I get $15000 Duke Nuke'em Forever will be out, and I can play it on my obscenely expensive menagerie of Best Buy consumables.

Faction war? (1)

msuzio (3104) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363638)

When the Geek Squad fights the Over-priced Home Automation Corps, we all win.

I mean... seriously. Are we talking Geek Squad ninjas with USB cable garrotes engaging in midnight raids on the Home Automation Camp? Stupid VW bugs with silly stickers being turned into car bombs? Windows Media Center cameras recording Geek Squad insurgents?

In other words:

A new low in hype and slashvertisments. Bah.

WTF?!..... (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363690)

I pay 15 THOUSAND and that's all that comes in it? For that price, it at least better come with a lightsaber.

Yeah all in a box... (1)

slicenglide (735363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363728)

Oh jesus, who in the hell do you think will set it up for these people? -GeekSquad duh... competition my ass.

Re:Yeah all in a box... (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363770)

it comes with installation by the connectedlife.home group.

if you actually read the headline and byline, you'd know that.

Re:Yeah all in a box... (1)

slicenglide (735363) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363786)

and connectedlife.home group contracts and trains geeksquad to set it up. -Insider... information.

Re:Yeah all in a box... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17363932)

as a former BB emplyee that what i said too.

15K? (1)

segfault7375 (135849) | more than 7 years ago | (#17363890)

For 15,000 I better get a fuckin blowjob with it.

Re:15K? (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364360)

That brings a whole new meaning to "blowing a wad of cash"

I'd be happy (1)

ShakaUVM (157947) | more than 7 years ago | (#17364388)

I'd only be happy if best buy went out of business and its execs all committed suicide for dishonoring their families by working for such a monstrously stupid company.

Idiotic Neiman-Marcus type product (1)

dpbsmith (263124) | more than 7 years ago | (#17365542)

This is one of these silly non-products that companies like Neiman-Marcus and Hammacher Schlemmer like to have in their catalogs. It's not a real product, it's all about publicity.

It's one of these crazy but amusing-sounded "products" that sound as if they'd be appropriate for the title character in "Brewster's Millions" (who had to waste $30 million in 30 days in order to inherit $300 million).

They tend to be not-quite-one-of-a-kind items that are nevertheless certainly not mass-produced and frequently involve an obvious component of personal service or installation.

This year Hammacher Schlemmer has a $15,000 rocking horse [hammacher.com] . Nieman-Marcus has a $40,000 7 foot sculpture [neimanmarcus.com] made entirely out of pencils, but their big item is the $1,764,000.00 six-person trip into space. [neimanmarcus.com]

I can't seem to find any of items that must involve sending a small army of people to install them, but they've had them in the past. You know, amusement-park-sized train rides for a 400-acre backyard or live camels or that sort of thing.

I suspect that very, very, few of these items are actually sold, and I bet that in some cases the companies wait for the item to be purchased before figuring out how they are going to deliver or install it. Nieman-Marcus may or may not make money on the Virgin Galactic space flights, but their business is not built on these offerings.

These products are offered so that hundreds of local news pairs of talking heads will alternatively swivel them toward each other as Kimberly says "If you're looking for the gift for the person who has everything, take a look at _this_ from the Glooper-Gnorgl catalog!" then swivels her head toward Lance who says "That's right, it's a real home hospital complete with emergency room, three motorized gurneys, and a five-person medical staff, and it can be yours for $56,000,000!"

Do I need exalted rep? (1)

bickle (101226) | more than 7 years ago | (#17366460)

"it's bound to pit the new group against other Best Buy factions like Geek Squad."
The divisions are factions? So does that mean I need exalted rep to buy from them? Argh, I hate faction grinding.

Exceptional Innovation (1)

drkpollax (1035478) | more than 7 years ago | (#17366746)

Not really related to the actual post, but on the topic of Exceptional Innovation.... I interviewed with them a while back, to the dismay of several of my coworkers (they have worked with several of the management biggies there at past jobs). I went to the interview anyways, just to hear what they had to say and eye some pretty neat technologies. Anyways, the interview was going great, the HR/recruiter guy doing his best to sell me hard on the company. As he dug into my work history it became apparent that I have dual citizenship (ill leave the countries undisclosed), but lets just say that one of those countries implied my ethnic and/or religious background. I was immediately rushed out the door and received a "thanks but no thanks" email a few hours later. i wont make any brash statements here, but think about it before you endorse any of their products.

IP surveillance - Anyone else read that as... (1)

StringBlade (557322) | more than 7 years ago | (#17367078)

Intellectual Property surveillance cameras -- cameras that keep an eye on you to make sure you don't download MP3s or rip DVDs.
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