How to make sure your clients are Smart Home Ready
How to make sure your clients are Smart Home Ready
Google estimates there are approximately 10,000 searches per month in the UK for the term ‘Smart Home’ and we know that interest in the DIY smart home market is strong.
In our corner of the market though, a smart home is much more advanced, so how can you ensure that a prospective client is ready for an intelligent home? Here are the main points for discussion.
Defining the possibilities of a smart home
Smart home speakers and voice assistants are two a-penny these days, and these types of products may have sparked your client's curiosity and interest in a smart home, but as we know, they have their limits.
When it comes to planning an intelligent home, it is easy to take for granted that homeowners understand the difference between smart devices and an intelligent smart home system. It’s important to help your clients to understand the limitations of DIY devices whilst also providing inspiration for what is possible and acknowledging the sliding scale of the budget!
Smart speakers and home assistants are cool, but the average homeowner might not know that home automation is on another level. This is where the concept of ‘building intelligence’ comes in, which might need some introduction.
Once this distinction is clear it's important to discuss what a homeowner wants to control. This might sound obvious, but perhaps they are not aware of the full range of options that an intelligent home can offer that they might view as valuable.
Understanding the options
Maybe they want a TV room with audio control and scene-controlled lighting ...but do they know that this could also extend out into the garden? Are they aware of the long-term cost-saving benefits of smart shading, or how an intelligent home can improve their wellbeing automatically?
Understanding the options available and what the homeowner values (and is prepared to pay for) are critical to meeting expectations and creating a happy customer.
Bespoke smart home system design
As an integrator, coming up with a successful system design means it is important to understand the homeowners’ daily routine. When and how do they leave their home, or do they have a home office? What are their frustrations or concerns? These are the opportunities for an intelligent home to really look after its occupants and deliver exceptional value and an improvement in their lifestyle, far and above DIY solutions.
Here you can use your experience and case studies to recommend features and functionality that improve quality of life, as well as add an element of fun. This is where you have an opportunity to really deliver the dream, and a little bit of wow factor if the budget allows.
Once the homeowner knows what they want, you can decide what platform or protocol(s) work best.
Choosing the best smart home technology
Based on the scoping and discovery phase you’ll have a clear idea of what the homeowner wants to control and how they want to control it.
Are they interior design-led? Is part of the appeal of having a smart home due to beautiful keypads and touchscreens around the home or is the functionality a priority? The answers to these questions will help you to specify what control protocol and products you’ll supply.
Proprietary, or open protocol?
At Ivory Egg, we will always champion KNX as an amazing all-rounder for the complete package of smart home control. But the beauty of KNX is that it is also possible to integrate and interface with other protocols including Crestron, Lutron, Control4, etc., giving you the ultimate flexibility in designing and delivering your projects.
Choosing a proprietary solution means you will have less flexibility regarding product specification and price, which inevitably leads to a compromise for the client. Making KNX the backbone of an installation gives you the option to integrate different protocols as desired, as well as a vast range of products which has benefits for both the integrator and homeowner. To read more on this topic and help support your clients to choose the right option, read our blog - Choosing your home electrical system.
Lifetime cost vs upfront cost of a smart home
The smart home DIY market is incredibly popular, and the low cost is a factor. For a few hundred pounds homeowners can get some useful functionality and basic control, but as time moves on and manufacturers have newer products to sell, these devices hit a troublesome software update, or need a new piece of hardware, and what was convenient is now a nuisance that typically requires more money to fix.
Homeowners need to see a smart home as a lifelong investment, much like buying bricks and mortar in the first place. A smart home system can (and should) outlive the average tenancy and be easily modified with a change of lifestyle, needs, or owner.
Naturally, an intelligent home comes with a bigger price tag, but with it the reassurance of longevity, a stable infrastructure, and a feature and benefit-rich environment that enhances the home for decades.
Are you new to working with KNX? Would you like tips and more support for selling, designing, and specifying products for KNX projects? All this is covered in our new online training platform – Ivory Egg Training.
For a limited time, our KNX System Design course is free – take a look.
Got questions? Send an email to our friendly and knowledgeable team at email@example.com