This article was first published in Total Installer Magazine July/August 2022 Edition.
In the first of a series of thought-provoking comments, Ryan Bromley, Co-Founder of Kubu Smart Security 🔒, discusses the exciting wave of ‘smart home’ products, and why this could be the key to installers winning new business…
Technology is nothing new in the fenestration industry. It has been used on various products for years – from simple contact sensors to full-on biometric access control systems – yet these “Smart” systems never seem to have caught on with consumers.
Is it a comfort thing, or a lack of trust? Is it price-point or is it looks? Personally, I think it’s a bit of everything.
Ugly contact sensors and huge ‘locks’ hanging on the door are a bit of a turn off for your average house-proud Brit. Bad press surrounding product failures have harboured fear and trust issues. It’s been a case of going too smart, too soon.
Mix this with high price points and a lack of product flexibility, your target market is limited to early adopters and bleeding-edge tech fans. An extremely important demographic, but they certainly won’t keep the wolf from the door in the long term.
With Smart Tech becoming ubiquitous in our lives, if there’s one thing for sure it is that it isn’t going away. Homeowners and consumers now expect smart technology in their homes, and new homes are being pre-fitted with smart tech to help manage costs, protect the environment and avoid costly accidents.
So how then, in the fenestration industry, do we create that trust and appeal that is needed to drive mass-market penetration?
Another industry – not too far removed from Fenestration – has undergone this exact journey in the recent past and the transformation is nothing short of incredible. I’m talking about the heating sector.
Heating was a well established industry where little had changed for many years, with hardware products being fitted as a household investment by professional trades people (remind you of anything?).
Then an unknown company called Nest invented a ‘Smart’ heating system.
At first it was seen as a gimmick. Then slowly but surely consumers started to see the benefits and demand increased. Other companies caught on, developed their own versions of the same tech and the race was well and truely on.
Manufacturers soon partnered with Smart Suppliers, allowing installers to offer Smart as an upsell option.
Fast forward 10 years and the Heating industry has changed beyond recognition.
Stable, proven tech and competition in the market raised awareness. Consumers started to pull Smart tech through the industry and sales grew exponentially until ‘Smart’ was no longer an upsell, it is fitted as standard.
Installers don’t sell boilers because it’s a Worcester or a Vailant anymore. These days it’s because it ‘Works with’ Nest or Hive or Tado…
Installers that embraced the change WON the majority of sales and became market leaders. Those that resisted got left behind, and I firmly believe the Fenestration industry is on a similar path.
To answer an earlier question, how do we create the trust to drive this change? It has to come from reliability of the product and confidence from the installer, right?
By developing a system that is “Just Smart Enough” – we aimed to introduce a level of tech that doesn’t hold any security concerns for the consumer, doesn’t limit their choice, doesn’t ruin the aesthetics of their investment and most importantly doesn’t cost the earth!
Our approach seems to have resonated, as we are seeing competitors emerge – just like in the heating sector. Healthy competition can only be a good thing for our industry, as it will help to drive consumer awareness, increase adoption and ensure ongoing product development.
What does this all mean for you as a fenestration installer?
What’s great is that the concept makes it so simple for the fitter. For no extra cost or installation time, an installer can offer their customers a door or window that is ready to accept Smart technology. For the more brave it can even be fully activated as part of the service.
After nearly 3 years on the market we are now starting to see Installers offer Kubu Smart Security fitted and activated as standard across all products. Just like in the heating industry, these installers have seen the benefits of using the technology as a differentiator, and are starting to win business over their competitors.
With the COVID peak subsiding, differentiators will be key to winning business, and ‘Smart’ will become an increasingly important sales tool over the coming years. Choosing to join the Smart Journey will be crucial for short term stability and long term success.
Exciting, isn’t it?