What will the Smart Home Industry look like in a post COVID-19 world?
27th May in The Smart Home
Life has changed rapidly in the last few months, with the world facing the biggest interruption to our way of life arguably since the Second World War. What that does mean is that rapid change is needed to adapt to the new normal and to protect ourselves in the future.
It’s our belief that a lot of these changes were on the horizon anyway, and that the COVID-19 has simply accelerated their arrival, but, there are a lot of new areas in which the smart home industry can respond and improve for the benefit of our global community. We wrote about some of the ways the smart home is supporting communities during the pandemic here for techUK.
For this blog post, we wanted to get a broader view on how smart home technology can support communities, what challenges might be faced, and where the industry should be focussing their efforts to make a difference to people’s lives.
We approached a few members of the smart home industry to get their opinion on the following question:
What is the one challenge or opportunity facing the Smart Home market since COVID-19?
Here are their responses:
Charlie Higgs – UK Smart Home Country Manager, Bosch
“That sounds interesting, I guess the most challenging thing for us since the virus outbreak and subsequent lockdown is getting consumers to think about the industry and how it may benefit them as a consumer. I think it’s very difficult to imagine having a smart security system for example while we are going through these times. Where the industry was doing well in terms of communicating the possibilities of the Smart Home, it’s now facing a problem of getting that message to hit home again because everyone is home all the time. I think there is also the issue of spending, there will be some people with more money in their pockets due to savings on things such as petrol or going out to restaurants but then there will also be people who are left much worse in terms of their disposable income. Both groups will re-evaluate how they spend their money and this could be to not just the smart home markets detriment but also the retail industry as a whole.”
Jenny Parkinson – Key Account Manager, Signify
“Interesting question. There are many possible answers. I believe the biggest hurdle we all now face, beyond imminent supply issues and changing retail landscape, is consumer confidence. With uncertainty about their futures, incomes, safety, routines, and ongoing stability of brands/retailers, their impulse purchases or tech funds are likely to decrease. This poses the challenge to manufacturers to find ways to install more confidence in consumers, and to do so without incurring enormous marketing budgets. Consumers want to know if they invest in an ecosystem for their home, that it’s there to stay, and will be supported for the duration of their time inhabiting a home.”
Caroline Laurenson – Director TL Tech, Smart Home Solutions
“There is a huge opportunity to redefine the role of the smart home. Showing how it can offer support to enhance wellbeing and bring families closer. We believe very passionately that smart homes should be accessible to all regardless of age, technical ability, or finances.”
Stephen Pattenden – Secretary, Smart Home and Buildings Association
“In many ways, COVID-19 has presented the Smart Home Market with an opportunity since almost everyone is forced to be at home and they have time to think about home improvements and if they are thinking about home improvements one improvement is how can smart home systems make the home easier to live in, more efficient and provide better entertainment. Thus this is an opportunity for almost anyone selling to people at home.
From the point of view of “bricks and mortar” retail outlets they have to find ways to get to their potential market and this has to be virtual or on-line. So excellent websites with good marketing and good explanations and specifications are now a must. It’s also likely that if your equipment needs an installer, for people over 60 this is going to be problematic for a long time into the future. So things need to be easy to install and set up because installers probably cannot have access.
From our perspective in SH&BA, not much has changed except our costs of delivering meetings and information have lessened but we will need to spend more on our web presence. This too is an opportunity.”
The one thing that is clear from all these responses is the opportunity and responsibility that the industry has in shaping a post-COVID-19 world.
We’d love to hear your opinion on this too! Please either comment below, on our social pages, use our contact form, or email us at email@example.com to get involved in the conversation.