Ivory Egg suggests the benefits of incorporating smart home solutions – IoT – into your business offering.
Over the last few years there has been an impressive increase in the number of smart home products and solutions available. With the Internet of Things (IoT) gaining almost daily coverage in the press and the big consumer manufacturers continuing to release products and integration options, homeowners are
slowly becoming aware that there are better ways to control their home environment than wall mounted light switches and a single electronic thermostat.
However, the number of companies that offer advice on the right solutions to use and install smart home systems is limited. Homeowners may want to use technology to make their home smarter but unless they can turn to someone they trust for advice they will either stick with a standard solution or look for DIY solutions that can be used with existing wiring. This represents a huge lost opportunity as electricians are in the perfect position to guide their customers to the right solution and continue to service their needs after the system is installed.
For some companies being able to work with modern installation systems and being at the cutting edge of the industry is enough but for the majority of businesses there needs to be some clear business benefits to justify moving away from an existing offering. Some of these benefits are:
● Differentiating your company from others
● Increasing the value of projects by selling hardware and services
● Selling products that customers are unable to source direct
● Charging a higher day rate as you will spend less time pulling cables and more time programming
● Building lasting ongoing relationships with customers ensuring referrals and repeat business
Of course making any changes to the services you offer will carry some risks. Taking the time to research the different solutions in the market before you commit to training or start installing in customer’s houses will ensure the best possible start. Here are some key points to consider:
● Do you want to work with smart devices that use existing wiring or offer fully integrated solutions
● Look for a solution that doesn’t lock you and your customers into one manufacturer or technology
● Make sure you get training on the system you are going to install
● Identify knowledge gaps such as networking or heating and train accordingly
● Start small with a system that offers potential for expansion
Being able to offer smart home systems is the first step, but unless you are also able to clearly communicate the benefits of having a smart home to your customers you will not get much work. It is also important to set the customers’ expectations to ensure they understand how they system will work and any limitations. This can be seen as an opportunity to upsell as most systems can be expanded in a modular fashion to increase the features and benefits to the customer. Being able to offer smart home systems is the first step, but unless you are also able to clearly communicate the benefits of having a smart home to your customers you will not get much work. It is also important to set the customers’ expectations to ensure they understand how they system will work and any limitations. This can be seen as an opportunity to upsell as most systems can be expanded in a modular fashion to increase the features and benefits to the customer.
Depending on the system you are offering, some of the key features and benefits could be:
● Zoned heating control allowing rooms to be heated without turning the entire system on
● Simple scene setting making control of multiple circuits easy
● Welcome home scenes, making the house more welcoming
● Intelligent motion detectors that recall different lighting levels based on the time of day
● Mobile and remote control of heating
● Flexibility to adapt and change the system as needs change
As with any modern technology the smart home market never stands still. The upside of this is constant updates, better products and more integration possibilities but it can also make it seem like a challenge to get involved. Thankfully, there are numerous industry bodies, manufacturers and distributors that are able to provide you with the guidance and support to get involved. By acting now you will ensure you don’t miss this huge opportunity that has the potential to revolutionise the electrical industry.