Organisers have released an interview with a speaker of the Smart Home stream in the upcoming Smart Summit Frankfurt (www.frankfurt.smartsummit.net) taking place on the 6th and 7th April 2016 at Kap Europa, Frankfurt.
Jutta Peinze is Marketing Director of Sengled (https://www.sengled.com/), an internationally active supplier of innovative lighting solutions.
To register for your free pass please visit www.smartsummit.net/frankfurt/buy-ticket.html
How popular are smart home products in your home market and how does this compare to the last 1 to 2 years?
Jutta: Smart home products are starting now. It’s a new category which people are hesitant to invest. Especially Germans – who are normally conservative and take a moment in adopting new trends. People here don’t want to connect their live in all areas to the internet. But unfortunately the data transfer is a key mean of having proper smart home solutions. So it is kind of difficult to find a balance between this. From Sengled side we are seeing the opportunity in providing easy solution, which people do easily understand.
What more can be done to take smart home products and services to the mass market?
Jutta: We believe that Entertainment is a great “mind-opener” for trying out smart home. This is why Sengled provides an energy efficient LED light – with a JBL Bluetooth or WiFi loudspeaker. Bringing the consumer to “experience” and try out such products at the POS – is then the task for operators and manufacturers to get an emotional buy-in.
Which do you consider to be the most popular products for smart home consumers?
Jutta: Security topics: cameras (baby, holiday flats, offices)
Light – manageable from everywhere but being an integrated part
Vacuum cleaner robots
Which distribution channels are the most successful in your market?
Jutta: Consumer electronic shops (Media Markt, Telcoretail (mobilcom debitel)..)
DIY – OBI, Bauhaus etc
Furniture houses are still very hesitatant – but will come…right now my impression is, that they are not yet ready for the new technology but the right place to develop
How important are industry partnerships to grow the Smart Home market?
Jutta: Its key to cooperate in order to bring products into an environment of integration. Solid solution are short term – at one point, you don’t want to have 5 different apps and password.
We have a new category – so competition AND partners a key to grow the full cake of business.
What product/service will become “can’t live without”?
Jutta: Voice management products
Measurement of energy consumption
Heating control on smart devices
How are standards encouraging or hindering Smart Home growth?
Jutta: The fact is: it is an extreme complex situation. For everyone: hardware manufacturer, software developers, users – it will take time … or maybe it will even never be – that ever system is easily talking with all devices. So my guess is: we will have 2-3 big players – who will dominate the mass market. Right now: the obstacle is, that these players are not yet identified. Therefore: you cannot do it “RIGHT” at the moment
How important is the brand for customer loyalty and buy-in?
Jutta: As in every branch and industry: trust is built by emotions which comes through an experience, perception and reality mixture – if you trust through proper marketing messages and you are failing in “improper products” – then the BRAND is anyway not successful. But if you are consistently developing, supporting and creating a good experience – the BRAND becomes a “no-think-about”-purchase aspect. Therefore the BRAND is majorly important for succeeding in smart home business.
Are security and privacy still a concern for customers and potential customers?
Jutta: Security absolutely grows: we are in times of everybody being more frightened about everything. We are not in the US stage of fear – but on a good way to go there. We are not yet watching our children in the Kindergarden – but some of us secretly start liking it. I believe we need to find the right balance – for this we need flexible products, where we can individualize the concept for everybody
The privacy anyway goes down. But people tend to accept that. One of the key challenges on application and product development is to be able to create flexible environments – where its easy to protect your privacy if you wish. If not especially in Europe – people will not accept to be too controlled.
What can retailers do to boost Smart Home sales?
Jutta: Right now the new departments called “smart home” – are everywhere empty. Why? Because the full picture is too abstract to understand. Even it contains the fear – to not be ale to use, install or repair the new installations. So retail needs to integrate parts of each section into the corresponding departments – and route the true experience to another: Example: Our Smart lighting product Pulse: JBL Bluetooth loudspeaker and LED light in one. Where do you sell it? Lighting? Loudspeaker? Smart home? – I trust its key to have live demo and trained staff in different areas. The up-selling incentives need to go across department management. Only this way – the full category cake can be grown.