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CONSUMER INSIGHT


DEMYSTIFYING SMART TECH


Thomas Kruse, product manager at German retailer, Reichelt talks about the rise of smart home technology and advises retailers on how to help customers make the right choices.


T


he rise of smart home


technology


has seen dozens of new brands entering the market, jostling for space to be the


number-one solution. While this is great competition, it can make it daunting for anyone looking to invest in smart solutions for their home. With so many options out there, how can customers be confident they are choosing the right system for their needs? How can retailers help this decision making process?


Important questions to consider include: what scope is needed for installing future tech? Compatibility has to be considered in this case. What cost and energy savings can they make? Two of the most common uses of smart technology are heating and lighting and is where a lot of choice lies in the market. For customers looking to invest, reviewing the existing hardware that is already in place at home is often a good place to start, but here are some further considerations to take into account to best advise customers.


Smart heating choices A customer looking for a smart heating system may want it to be more energy efficient, reduce their energy bills and/or have greater control over how their home is heated. For example, in the morning they might want a warm kitchen, but don’t need to use the living room until the afternoon.


Smart heating apps can be easily set to adapt to daily or weekly routines. An intelligent heating system, such as the Homematic IP, ensures the room is at the right temperature at the right time. Systems with


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additional window contact sensors will also detect when the room is ventilated. A traditional heater with a simple temperature sensor will counter-regulate


to maintain the


temperature, thus wasting valuable energy. A smart heater, on the other hand, knows not to, saving heating costs as a result. According to recent research by Reichelt in the UK, 46% of Brits say they have reduced energy bills with smart heating, 47% improved home comfort, and 23% improved their well-being.


Talk to the heater There are a number of brands and models out there but here are some examples to help give you a guide. A solution for fans of Apple devices is the Apple HomeKit smart home system. It uses Apple TV or an iPad as a central control system for the home. In this case, the iPad would have to remain permanently at home.


The Elgato Eve Thermo thermostat for the heating, Elgato Eve Degree room thermostat and the Elgato Eve Door and Window Wireless Contact


Sensor are simply designed for use with the HomeKit. If the customer already uses some smart home technology, such as the Apple HomeKit or Amazon Alexa, the heating control system from Tado could be of interest. Thermostats like the Tado SRT can be connected to both systems and then conveniently controlled by voice commands, like: “Alexa, set the temperature in the living room to 22 degrees”. If the customer has a mix of iPhone and Android devices, heating accessories from Homematic are the simplest solution. The “Homematic IP” app is available for both iOS and Android, so anyone in the household can control the heating.


Shed a light on smart lighting Convenience and ease of use is a big incentive to purchase smart lighting. But it’s no longer just about being able to dim the lights from the


comfort of the sofa.


Systems are now available where users can create individual room profiles and activate them remotely whenever needed. It’s well


known that colour


can have a major impact on our health and wellbeing, from getting a good night’s sleep to improving concentration whilst in the office. Choosing the right colour and tone of lighting for the right room and activity is crucial, and smart lighting offers thousands of shades, so users can find the right light for them. With smart lighting solutions you can adjust the brightness levels and the hue. On request, LEDs can shine in almost any colour. This provides some great design options. Via app or voice command, the mood in a room can be changed in seconds – for example from a cold white working environment to a cosy warm white. As you can group several lamps together, it’s possible to set programmes and design the light throughout the entire room. The choice need not be so daunting for customers seeking the energy efficient cost savings and improved home comfort offered by smart technology solutions. Understanding how, when and where the technology will be used, can help retailers guide consumers through the best options for them.


10 AUGUST 2018 DIY WEEK 21


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