Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association

Smart Technology: Another Service to Offer the Customer

Smartphones are Keeping an Eye on Smart Homes

Smart home automation-503256079Smartphones, combined with the Internet of Things (IoT), not only allow people to remain plugged in with friends and family, they are also becoming a popular way to keep plugged in to what’s happening in the home.

From thermostats, appliances and automatic locks to window shades, light switches and surveillance systems, customers are remotely monitoring and controlling more of the house than ever before—all from the palm of their hands.

Zion Market Research predicts that the demand for smart technology in the home will reach $53.45 billion by 2022. This suggests that it’s smart for contractors to consider offering this kind of technology to their customers.

Peace of mind when away from home. At Artlip and Sons, a SMACNA residential contractor based in Aurora, Illinois, the use of smart technology has been a topic of discussion, as clients begin embracing new possibilities linked to the thermostat.

“In the past few months, we have started looking into smart homes and home automation as another service to offer the customer,” said Jason Pickering, who provides inside sales and service support. “The most popular one we have started to see is the smart thermostat. Certain customers really like to see what is going on when they are away from the home. They also like that they will receive email alerts when their equipment malfunctions.”

The company hasn’t yet received requests for technology beyond the smart thermostat, but they know it’s coming. They’ve been researching more options and are willing to expand into it if it makes sense for them as a company, and if there’s a market for it, he noted.

“Alexa, what is the temperature?” A recent article by the Forbes Technology Council predicted that “2018 holds even more promise for the smart home industry, as devices like Google Home, Alexa, and Amazon Echo become more commonplace and artificial intelligence becomes more sophisticated.”

Amazon and Apple also are both teaming with homebuilders to embed voice assistants directly into newly built homes.

Pickering sees more interest growing as other companies push smart technology into the mainstream. “Many of the giant companies (Google, Amazon, Apple) are trying to push smart technology, so it would make sense that it will continue to rise in popularity. Along with the smart technology, voice control seems to be popular, with Amazon’s (voice assistant) Alexa being used on the EcoBee 4, the Cor Smart thermostat, and many more.”

The customer base at Artlip and Sons is more mature, which may be why the company hasn’t had more inquiries into smart technology. But Pickering is sure it will rise in popularity, especially with younger customers who “more readily adopt new technologies.”

Pickering believes that people first embrace smart technology for safety reasons, followed by convenience, then comfort. “People like to know what is happening when they are away. Cameras, water sensors, smoke detectors are a few things that can put people’s minds at ease while they are away from home.”