Icontrol Networks: Smart home needs education and time

Icontrol Networks: Smart home needs education and time
SMAhome has the pleasure to talk with Greg Roberts, VP of Marketing of Icontrol Networks to share his viewpoints on 2016 smart home trends about the technology and market development.

What is the mostly wanted among smart home in North America so far?

We’ve found that DIY (Do-It-Yourself) vs. DIFM (Do-it-for-me) are two different audiences, so it depends on who you are targeting. According to our 2015 State of the Smart Home Report, those aged 45 and younger are more likely to prefer DIY and are likely to spend between $2,000 and $3,000 to upgrade their home to a smart home. This audience prefers to shop for smart home products at a security (17%) or technology (19%) company or a home repair store (14%).
Those above the age of 45 tend to like more assistance with the setup of their smart home devices and are likely to spend less than $500 to upgrade their home to a smart home. This audience prefers to shop at a cable/telecommunications company (25%) or security company (20%).

Icontrol One targets independent dealers. What are their demands?

The key for dealers is education. Not only should they be educated on the smart home but they should be able to educate their customers and position themselves as experts. Dealers should work closely with their smart home provider to stay informed on the latest technologies and features. This will help them remain a step ahead of their competition.

For security dealers, what are your suggestions?

Home automation is an untapped opportunity for security dealers, and one we believe they should pursue. For the second year in a row, our 2015 State of the Smart Home Report found security remains the number one motivating factor behind smart home purchases, with nearly seven out of ten (65%) consumers hesitant to purchase a home automation system without security features.
Our report also found 20% of those aged 45 and above prefer to shop for smart home products at a security company and would like more assistance with setup compared to their younger counterparts. Although those younger than 45 prefer a more DIY centric system, 17% still prefer to shop at a security company. If implemented correctly, security dealers have an opportunity to increase sales with home automation.

What are the big benefits of adopting Icontrol Developer Program?

The Icontrol Developer Program is a global program that enables compatibility between any cloud-based, ZigBee, Wi-Fi or Z-Wave device and Icontrol-powered solutions. Icontrol-powered security and service providers can offer their customers more device options, and those options can be controlled from a single user experience without bringing technology or compatibility into the conversation. Developers will benefit from a streamlined integration process, and increased flexibility while maintaining control over the device user experience.

Are you convinced voice control and multi-functional to be the two big trends in smart home?

Voice-user interface to the connected home will grow. More and more people are becoming comfortable with voice applications like Siri or Google Now and devices like the Amazon Echo. Voice control for connected home is a natural interface that we think will gain some interest in 2016. There is still a lot of work to be done to make the experience intuitive, but we know there are many innovators working on furthering this technology.

People want one system to perform many tasks. Think about it like your smartphone. You don’t want to use 20 apps daily, rather you’d like to have one or two that allow you to accomplish the same tasks. Simplicity and multi-functional devices will prevail as mass market adoption occurs for the smart home. 

Are there any untapped opportunities of smart home?

Yes, elder care is an untapped opportunity for the smart home. Our report found that nearly 50% of consumers would sleep better at night if their parents or grandparents had a smart home – a number significantly higher among younger generations, as well as those who identify themselves as parents.
Consumer preferences and needs will determine what devices will become common. But according to our report, consumers reported they are most likely to buy a connected home camera (37%), connected thermostat (37%) and connected lighting (34%) in the next twelve months.

Do you see any other trends for the smart home industry?

Two trends stand out.

First, interoperability and communication standards. We don’t see one sole smart home standard, at least not in the foreseeable future. The industry will require multiple standards to take advantage of the current marketplace and technology structure. That doesn’t mean to say one standard won’t lead the way in the long term, but today, there is still a need for multiple standards in the market that work best for different use cases.
Second, we will see big companies (like Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, and LG) continue to “experiment” with smart home technologies by releasing different products or features that approach the space in different ways. This will lead to more awareness of smart home as a category of the bigger IoT space.

What will help smart home market to grow in a faster pace?

The real smart living revolution hasn’t happened yet, and we are in the very early stages of adoption. The market’s growth depends greatly on two things: consumer understanding of what a smart home is and how they can benefit from it; and manufacturers making products that are easy to use and solve every day problems.
For the first, consumer education is key. The people in the smart home industry have been “in the weeds” for a long time, and now we need to make sure we’re talking about smart home in a way that makes sense to anyone and everyone. That means reducing jargon, and highlighting the many different benefits smart home can provide.
For the second, we just need time. Much like a smartphone and its apps, we will eventually see a robust, automated ecosystem that incorporates multiple connected devices and addresses multiple use cases. Just like smartphones, the products started out bulky and not visual appealing, but over time as the phones became smarter and people knew how to use them, the design became more natural. We believe this will happen with smart home as it generates mainstream appeal.

Product Adopted:
Home Control

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