'Smart' home technology to enter the mainstream

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Home improvement retailer Lowe’s plans to introduce a cloud-based home-management system in North America called Iris in mid-2012, which will allow users to monitor and control many aspects of their home from their smartphone, tablet or computer, including thermostats, refrigerators, smart plugs, lighting, door locks, motion sensors and more.

On Jan. 5, Lowe’s announced a partnership with the England-based home technology company AlertMe. The Iris system will be wireless and allow users to interact with and control many aspects of their home in real time from any mobile device.