Smart Home & Custom Install ANALYSIS


nowadays there is still a large selection of so- called ‘smart home’ products, that include voice control, being adopted without one specific all- encompassing solution being implemented. Whether they are ‘smart’ or simply ‘connected’ is another thing. What is important is for smart products to be compatible with all the key platforms. On a consumer level, these are Amazon Alexa, Google Home and Apple Home Kit. Aside from smart TVs, multi-room audio and smart speakers, lighting solutions and things like security cameras are also becoming increasingly popular. Consumers are attracted to the wireless plug-and-play convenience of these systems as well as the peace of mind that they can offer. Many consumers are also using them as a surveillance option, such as checking the children in the garden or who is at the front door etc, rather than a full security system. However, these systems do not replace a properly installed wired solution.

Changes in the sector According to a Gartner report in 2016, 88 per cent of consumers don’t trust smart home technology, with 62 per cent saying their biggest fear is hacking. Therefore, consumers will most likely be looking for products that are considered safe and secure. Whilst this is a valid concern, there is a lot being done in terms of standards with the BSI having launched a Kitemark for loT. Convenience

is another key feature that

consumers will continue to look for, with products such as smart locks beginning to gain interest, but proven standards and insurance acceptance are still catching up with the technology. User benefits include not needing keys, being alerted when someone gets home or enabling entry into a porch for deliveries etc.

When opportunity knocks As an electrical retailer, it is easy to only think about the product lines you have always sold. But, as more products become connected, it’s worthwhile to think about the new opportunities this creates to tap into new budgets. For example, we have seen an increase in wireless window shading from consumers. They might have just come in to buy a new TV or wireless speaker, but when they happen to mention that they are renovating an area of the house, there is suddenly the opportunity to upsell. We offer a QMotion solution at AWE Europe that is totally wire-free.

We are also seeing an increasing number of

retailers adding value to the box by integrating a control solution. This is largely for convenience for the homeown er, but the more connected devices the consumer has, the more important it is for the retailer to make them easy to use. There are control solutions which pull these all together. Logitech Harmony is widely available, but URC MX Home Pro is another example; full control solutions include Control4 or URC Total Control. These require additional knowledge but offer a huge level of flexibility and benefits.

Showing off

It is important that products are demonstrated. Rather than stacking lines of stock on a shelf, it would be beneficial to have a small area in-store that can be set up where there is already a TV, for example. Add some more features like a lamp,

a simple one-touch control option (e.g. ‘Watch Netflix’), or add some shading. This will assist the consumer as they can see it in real life.

What about installation? There are three common ways of providing a complete installation service: offering in-house installation, project management with some sub- contracting, or sub-contracting it all out. Offering in-house services has more potential profit, but the skillset is needed. There is a wide range of training available at CEDIA that would be beneficial. In addition, our AWE Smart Home Academy is multi-award winning and offers a range of product-specific training alongside skills-based training, such as Home Cinema Design and Smart Home Control courses. We are also a Southern- based training centre for CEDIA, with all our own staff teaching these courses.

Home is where the smart is W

Selling the smart home is still an alien concept to many retailers. However, with a vast array of solutions now on the market covering most rooms of the house, consumers are wising up to the benefi ts. And now is the time to get involved, says Stuart Tickle, Managing Director at AWE Europe.

ithin the consumer electronics market

“As more products become connected, it’s worthwhile for electrical retailers to think about the new opportunities this creates to tap into new budgets.

AWE’s home cinema room

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