Technology Innovation Scale

Smart Phone, Smart Home

Retailers rush into the home automation space

If you have been around the tech world for any amount of time, you have heard of software as a service (SaaS).

What about home automation as a service (HaaS)?

Things like Digital Life. XFINITY Home Control. ADP Pulse. All of these services now bring automation and control into your home.

Industry giants have recognized the opportunity and moved on it. Google’s purchase of Nest and Dropcam, and Samsung’s purchase of SmartThings give both companies early entrée into the “smart home” where the smart phone and apps become your “with you everywhere” control panels.

Milestones in this explosive new category

If you’re a retailer and you’re looking at home automation as a service, you can build a proprietary system or sell devices for everybody else’s system—or both.

Sears is a great example.

They have a service called FitStudio. It’s a fitness portal for customers. When you sign up, you simply choose which wearable devices you’d like to connect. It is a managed service that makes it easy to leverage the data from your wearable fitness technologies.

This type of managed service is now being developed by retailers for home automation: Lowe’s has launched the Iris Home Management System; Home Depot the Wink platform; and Staples has the Staples Connect products.

Everyone wins

It’s a win for customers, because now it becomes very easy to control newly purchased devices right from their smart phones and related apps. It’s a win for the retailers, because they can improve their customer service—in a way that almost seems miraculous.

For example, if you have the Samsung refrigerator connected to a management portal, your smart phone will notify you when the water filter needs changing. If you have connected smoke detectors, then your phone will notify you when your batteries are nearing expiration. If you have connected fitness wearables, the management portal can provide reports regarding how many calories you burned this week and how that compares to your goals.

These “predictive services” offer an extraordinary way to make your life easier and more efficient. Plus it enables retailers to provide almost clairvoyant services to its customers.

Post By Rick Rommel (9 Posts)

Product Development, Private Label, Merchant, Emerging Business, Consumer Electronics, Rocket Scientist (really!)

Rick serves as a Distinguished Visiting Scholar at Stanford University’s mediaX, and is a respected and entrepreneurial industry leader who has built innovative businesses in the consumer electronics, retail, and aerospace industries.

Most recently, Rick created Best Buy’s Global Private Label CE, the company’s most profitable internal start-up business. Prior to that, Rick helped lead Best Buy’s New Business Consumer Solution Group to create, incubate, and accelerate new global business opportunities.

Prior to that, Rick’s career spanned management roles in a $4B retail business; a $10M start-up; and consumer product development for Best Buy and Kodak. He has served in General Management, Product Development, Sales, IT, Business Development, Marketing and Operations roles, and began his career launching satellites at Hughes.