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Bosch gets the nod from Consumer Reports

BY Brae Canlen

Consumer Reports has given its No. 1 ranking and “Best Buy” rating to Bosch dishwashers in its most recent edition. Six models of the German-engineered appliances were featured on the magazine’s recommended list.

Bosch entered the dishwasher market in 1991. The Irvine, Calif.-based manufacturer makes an assortment of models that range from an all-plastic tub to a fully featured stainless steel tub.

“We are honored by this top recognition and proud to continue our commitment to quality across our line," said Stephanie Hutaff, director of product marketing, dishwashers for Bosch home appliances.

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Fake grenade evacuates Lowe’s in Texas

BY Brae Canlen

An irate customer planted a fake grenade in the lumber department of a Lowe’s in Texas, prompting an evacuation of the store. The January 9 incident, reported by the Houston Chronicle, began around 1:15 p.m. when the suspect entered the store with a hollowed-out grenade. 

According to a sheriff department spokesperson: "He was unhappy with store security in the sense that no one had noticed that he had been walking around the store with the hand grenade. He expressed his displeasure with an employee, who asked him to leave."

The unnamed individual placed the device on a stack of lumber in the building materials section and then grabbed a cart and started shopping. 

Sheriff’s deputies arrived moments later and evacuated the store. No injuries were reported. The suspect was questioned, and no charges are expected to be filed in the case, according to the article.

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Lowe’s showcases ‘smart home’ solutions

BY Brae Canlen

Lowe’s sponsored a networking reception this week at the 2013 International CES in Las Vegas, giving the home improvement retailer a chance to showcase its new offerings in the “connected home” product category. The Jan. 8 event was in partnership with Parks Associates, an international research firm that hosts the annual Connections Summit at CES.

"Lowe’s entrance into the smart home market is an important and potentially game-changing step," said Stuart Sikes, president of Parks Associates. "The retail channel allows consumers to touch and test these solutions, an important step toward broader adoption.”

Parks Associates research shows U.S. consumers are reluctant to take on new service fees, with only 15% of U.S. broadband households willing to adopt subscription controls packages. However, the percentages increase dramatically for individual controls components: 56% would buy door/window sensors, 53% would buy door locks, and 44% would purchase lighting controls. This indicates a strong potential for selling equipment with security and control features through a retail channel that consumers can expand over time to incorporate additional features.

Lowe’s “Iris” system allows consumers to monitor and control their home from their computer, tablet or smartphone. The retailer designed these products and services to appeal to mainstream consumers who may want to purchase simple and affordable bundles.

Kevin Meagher, VP and general manager of Smart Home at Lowe’s, also presented at a session entitled "Convergence in the Connected Home: Partnership Opportunities." Speakers from IBM, Verizon Telecom, Hitachi, EcoFactor and Qualcomm also participated in the session.

During CES, Lowe’s exhibited in the San Polo room at the Venetian hotel.

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