Target's new store in San Francisco to focus on smart devices

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A new store opens at one of the busiest corners in San Francisco on Friday, and it's unlike anything you've ever seen. A retailer is making a big bet on what could be a hot new technology trend.

Designer Jake Barton gave ABC7 News a tour of what could easily be a museum exhibit. Clear plastic furniture and walls that light up to teach you about futuristic devices. Like baby clothes that can tell when your child is sleeping.

"As soon as your baby begins to wake up, I can tell Mr. Coffee to start brewing you a cup," Barton said. "These are some of the very small but soon to be unforgettable ways that your life will soon be just a little bit simpler and better."

By soon, he means right now. Because this isn't a museum, it's a store.

Every device there is for sale from a company you've probably heard of. The so-called Open House is part of Target.

"We're believers in the future of this space, we're really committed to it," said Target Enterprise Growth Director David Newman.

But selling the connected home requires a new approach.

"If you see it on a shelf you can read what it does, but some of the most exciting promise of this whole space are how these products can work together to solve every day problems," Newman said.

The Open House is completely separate from the Target store upstairs. And it's the only one of its kind. Target's treating this space sort of like a laboratory.

"Engaging the startup community, the makers, the thought leaders," said Newman.

It's no accident the store is across the street from the Moscone Center, where the makers of these very products often attend conferences.

"Frankly it says they're a little desperate," said Contrast Security CTO Jeff Williams.

Williams knows Target's still digging itself out of a credit card data breach that reportedly cost in the hundreds of millions.

A showroom like this might give it an edge over Amazon, which sells most of these products online.

Products that could themselves become a target for hackers.

"With the Internet of things, you know cars can crash, blenders can explode, there's a lot of real world impacts," Williams said.

But what makes the house open is it's open to innovators, including the ones who attend the annual security convention across the street.
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