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Best Buy's ConnectedLife One-Ups Geek Squad 113

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the home-in-a-box dept.
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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Best Buy's ConnectedLife One-Ups Geek Squad

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  • services (Score:1, Insightful)

    by bmecoli (963615)
    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
  • by edwardpickman (965122) on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:33PM (#17361658)
    Does it come with the loan application?
    • 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 (Score:5, Funny)

    by Infonaut (96956) <infonaut@gmail.com> on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:36PM (#17361682) Homepage Journal

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

    • Best Buy thanks you for your business, Barry
      • by Ucklak (755284)
        Looks like I just have to sign up and get this thing, Buzz.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          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
  • by Baricom (763970) on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:39PM (#17361700)
    ...that they check your receipt very carefully as you leave.
    • by sharkey (16670)
      Because they don't trust those customers who arrange for delivery and home installation of the item they purchase?
  • by SeaFox (739806) on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:42PM (#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"]
    • by Psion (2244)
      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!"
  • by HeadbangerSmurf (649736) on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:42PM (#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... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by fireboy1919 (257783)
      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 Vis
      • 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
        • 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)?
          • 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 m
            • It sounds like you've got a good business model based on sound premises and with reasonable expectations. Don't worry too much about naysayers unless they happen to be experts and can back up their position with observation and rationale.
      • by Paul Carver (4555)
        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 rep
  • by pHatidic (163975) on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:42PM (#17361716)
    For the obscenely wealthy person whose never purchased anything.
    • the very existence of the geeksquad proves that there are 'tards out there with more money than brains.
  • Marketing Hype (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward
    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.
    • Wow. I totally misunderstood the summary. I assumed that "...it's bound to pit the new group against other Best Buy factions like Geek Squad." meant "Geek Squad" would be irritated because people would call them to troubleshoot their poorly configured houses after installing this overpriced monstrosity.
  • by Salsaman (141471) on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:47PM (#17361742) Homepage
    So what happens when your house gets a BSOD ?

    And do you have to reboot it every night ?

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by jpardey (569633)
      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.
    • 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.
  • ... "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.

  • 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
    • by mackyrae (999347)
      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.
  • Two dimensional box? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nacturation (646836) <nacturation.gmail@com> on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:56PM (#17361790) Journal

    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.
     
    • 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: (Score:2, Informative)

      by sharkey (16670)
      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.
  • by Shemmie (909181) on Monday December 25, 2006 @06:58PM (#17361794)
    ... it includes a $14,900 mail-in rebate.
    • by StikyPad (445176) on Monday December 25, 2006 @08:28PM (#17362206) Homepage
      Unfortunately, that's a european decimal notation.
    • by mfh (56)
      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 an
      • by nolife (233813)
        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
        • by mfh (56)
          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. ;-)
          • by nolife (233813)
            Okay, well people have negotiated deals and bartered since the cave man days. That is a far cry from the current state of the MIR system that exists in the market place now.

            As I understand it, in the perfect world, manufacturers offer either the retailer or the consumer money back for items they already negotiated terms on for stock that is not moving well. An example, BestBuy purchases 1000 model X washing machines. After 2 months only 5 are sold. An agreement is worked out between themselves to stimul
  • $15,000?!?! I've never seen such a good boxing day deal at Best Buy! Count me in!
  • Survey SAYS... (Score:5, Informative)

    by pla (258480) on Monday December 25, 2006 @07:28PM (#17361902) Journal
    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).
    • 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.

      • 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.
    • 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 goi
    • by cjjjer (530715)
      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.
      • by pla (258480)
        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 an
    • by homer_s (799572) *
      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...
  • by Junta (36770) on Monday December 25, 2006 @07:32PM (#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???
  • I can hear the lead balloon falling. Fifteen grand? What are they smoking?
  • Pricing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Animats (122034) on Monday December 25, 2006 @07:34PM (#17361940) Homepage
    • 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?

    • 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.
    • You forgot the box. It's solid gold.
  • by staeiou (839695) <staeiou@@@gmail...com> on Monday December 25, 2006 @07:35PM (#17361948) Homepage
    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.
  • 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.
  • 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
  • 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 p
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • I pay 15 THOUSAND and that's all that comes in it? For that price, it at least better come with a lightsaber.
  • Oh jesus, who in the hell do you think will set it up for these people? -GeekSquad duh... competition my ass.
    • by DragonTHC (208439)
      it comes with installation by the connectedlife.home group.

      if you actually read the headline and byline, you'd know that.
      • and connectedlife.home group contracts and trains geeksquad to set it up. -Insider... information.
  • For 15,000 I better get a fuckin blowjob with it.
  • 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.
  • 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 inv
  • "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.
  • 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 t
  • Intellectual Property surveillance cameras -- cameras that keep an eye on you to make sure you don't download MP3s or rip DVDs.
  • This all in one connected system, when exposed to alcohol, may also take up industrial design, asking questions about the meaning of life, and wooing Virginia Madsen.
  • I'd reather see motorola homesight get a little more robust. It seems like a damn good start, (wifi sensors, computer interface, easy to use...) But it's missing some key stuff. For one, it's all security now. They need to add automation. Second, while you can use it online, you have to use some service that starts charging you after the first year. Finally, they don't have 64bit drivers.

    Does anyone know of anything similar? Not X10 but a system that you can drop in wireless devices that report to
  • ... that won't fit in most people's entryways (do YOU have a 48" wide door?).

    A bit silly. Obviously, ways around it (garage, unbox on the street) - but ... I thought most companies had this solved by at least making packages that were thinner on one axis than entryways....

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