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Smart Home: A New Revenue Opportunity

Posted On - 13/10/2017 09:41:12


Smart Home: More than Just Selling Hardware

Smart Home isn't new. The difference is now it's no longer the preserve of the rich.

All the high-end products and services remain available. It's just now there is a host of retail and DIY products out there too.

Smart Home is a huge business opportunity for small IT businesses. So much so we staged a dedicated Smart Home Zone at our 2017 Open Day. Plus we invited Adam Smith from Energenie to host a workshop. To see what he had to say about the market opportunity and how to go about making Smart Home your business read on...

"Something happened this year"

Carl West of GfK said the very same thing in "The Market for Smart Home and Other Stuff". And while both Carl and Adam said it for the same reason they put it differently.

Adam was clear - as he puts it in the video, "Amazon Echo has set Smart Home alight." So much so, there are now some 3M homes in the UK with at least one Smart product. And while that may sound a lot there are 24M homes in the UK. So over 20M still without one. What's more PwC predict a fifteen-fold increase in the market by 2020. This opportunity is huge - see Adam's video for more.

A new kind of Smart

Smart Home used to mean proprietary equipment set-up by specialist engineers and installers. It's no wonder it used to cost so much.

Today, things are different. Products don't need to be hard wired – they communicate wirelessly using radio. Products themselves cost less - they don't need the intelligence built in as it's all done in the cloud. What's key is products are now open source. So manufacturers' products now link and work with any manufacturer, not only their own.

All this makes Smart Home a cheaper, easier and more flexible prospect. A far better offer than what's gone before. And one that'll grow fast as the word spreads.

Sell the sizzle not the sausage

Flogging Smart bulbs, switches and valves will make you money. But as Adam says, "selling hardware isn't the end, the opportunity is customisation". Adam's getting at the bigger opportunity beyond that presented by built-in functionality. He's talking about services like IFTTT (IF-This-Then-That) and Stringify. And how they can link different manufacturers' ecosystems as well as web services to transform how smart a Smart Home is.

Translating a customers' intentions into a working Smart Home is way beyond box-shifting. This is consultancy, programming as well as installation. And those are all value-added services. Services that should be charged and paid for.

Tsunami

Housebuilders are now incorporating Smart products into new builds. It makes sense after all. Smart security, video doorbells, digital locks and CCTV are all desirable ‘upgrades'. But it's Smart heating that turns heads. Energenie state average savings through smart heating are 25%. That's huge – yielding a payback of a couple of years most.

Together these things point to the future. The convenience and savings these deliver will ignite the retrofit market. And 24M homes will all start wanting Smart stuff.

Making Smart Home your business

Adam has some good points on this – you should watch the video for the detail. But if you want the summary it's this.

First, start small and simple, look for prospects using Smart products for the first time. This isn't about exploiting their ignorance it's about the longer term. Once customers get and enjoy straightforward uses of Smart their intentions will grow. Soon they'll need help as their ambitions grow and they need to combine products and web services.

Second, advanced Smart Home depends on good connectivity. So master your knowledge of networking products, set-up and installation. Get prepared and start promoting your services in this area. 

Third, build your wider knowledge. Learn more about different manufacturers and their products. Learn about the sophisticated web services that can link everything together. Together these will mean you can help first time buyers now. And be there for them when they want more.

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Also in this series
  1. Smart Home: A New Revenue Opportunity
  2. The Market for Smart Home and Other Stuff
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