By: Mitchell Klein, executive director, Z-Wave Alliance
It's always hard to believe an entire year has gone by as we prepare for yet another CES (Z-Wave's biggest one yet!) and start to think about what's next for the smart home in the year ahead.
What did we learn in 2018? One thing is very clear - IoT is everywhere. The walls between the smart home, the smart office, the smart city and the smart future are coming down as connected technology is more prevalent and more expected in our modern lives. We've seen wider adoption of connectivity in major hotel chains
, most notably with voice assistant technology like Alexa and the Google Assistant. The future of hospitality is clearly noted in China where some luxury hotels have robots who will check you in
and carry your luggage to your room. (What happens if the robots steal your luggage? Well, we'll tackle that in 2019!)
We are also seeing smart home seep into mainstream tech buying in record numbers. Leading into the massive shopping weekend of Black Friday, the CTA estimated
that 85% of shoppers said they planned to buy technology and 42.4 million adults were buying a tech product or accessory using a voice-enabled digital assistant. A full third of shoppers bought a smart home product for someone on their list - with smart lighting, cameras, doorbells and of course, smart speakers at the top of those lists. Five years ago, it would probably be strange to give dad a set of lightbulbs; the smart home has given ordinary home devices a cool factor.
Of course, the cool factor of voice control isn't the only big trend that's continuing to gain steam in 2018; insurance companies continue to look at the benefits and opportunities when it comes to their customers having connected tech. In the past few years, we've seen a toe dip effort to create incentive programs for homeowners to purchase things like smart water sensors or fire alarms. But 2019 needs to be the start of even deeper programs and thinking around smart home and insurance and how home tech can be used not only in mitigation, but also in remediation, claims and beyond. As IHS Markit points out, "While smart home technology can unleash yet another floodgate of information on consumer behavior, without a viable strategy or a clear understanding, many insurance companies could still be testing smart home technology in pilots for the next 1-2 years."
But as much excitement as there is right now, we are also facing down some serious threats to a truly smart future and perhaps the biggest issues remain around privacy and security of consumer data. Amazon and Google may be driving the market with voice technology but the questions around having "always listening" devices in every room of the home coupled with prominent data breaches and security hacks means that the more consumers adopt this stuff, the more room there is for error and panic. We expect to see more and more solutions taking advantage of those fears and working to protect users from connectivity-related harm and continued push from governments for our industry to take these issues seriously.
So, I want to know; What do you think lies ahead for 2019? If you're coming to CES, I'd love to talk in person. Stop by the Z-Wave Pavilion in the Sands Smart Home Marketplace - booth 41917 (it's hard to miss, it's tied with Ring for the biggest booth in the Sands!). Come say hi and let's see if we can figure out the future together.
Happy Holidays to you & yours -
January 8 - January 11, 2019 Las Vegas, NV
for free attendee pass if registered by December 18th
February 5 - February 9, 2019 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Member Pavilion Space Available
Member Recap: What Went Well in 2018 and What Are Your Plans for 2019?
With 2018 coming to an end and 2019 on the horizon, we wanted to know from members: what went well in 2018 for your company and what are your plans for 2019? Where do you see the opportunities for growth?
Members weigh in, below.
In 2018, Qolsys released the IQ Panel 2 Plus, a 7" HD Touchscreen Security and Smart home control panel with built in camera supporting multiple wireless protocols, including Z-Wave Plus. The IQ Panel 2 Plus was specifically designed with Dual SRF featuring PowerG, the ability to take over old non-Z-Wave Alarm systems and upgrade them to LTE & Wi-Fi Dual Path communication technology. It also can add Z-Wave devices into a home where previously, none existed. The biggest hurdle for Security dealers is the need to either replace all the security and Life Safety sensors or use a costly wireless "translator", which included significant limitations. Qolsys bridges the gap between older technology and tomorrow's wireless protocols with a panel that can do it all: the IQ Panel 2 Plus.
With the development of home automation, we think highly of positive market growth including Z-Wave, and our selling and markets are growing, particularly among the Asian and European market in 2018. To meet the growing base of the industry and its explosive demands, we have been developing more and more new devices to meet the market needs. Now our main product line includes micro modules, switch, dimmer and shutter panels, smart plugs, multi-sensors, and thermostats. We also have various thermostats for different heating and air-conditioning systems world-wide.
Our biggest success this year was the launch of our Evolve Guest Interface (eGI). This is the hospitality industry's first multi-protocol controller built into a touch-screen interface that enables guests to control in-room climate, lighting, and shading, as well as other functions to increase efficiencies for both guests and staff. Our customers are requesting more and more functionality with fewer devices, and eGI answers that request. eGI is a breakthrough technology that addresses the rising demand for innovative, individualized and effective technology. The controller has a minimalist design and includes the must-haves for future-proof application integration.
Our focus is to support hotels in providing an experience that will exceed what a hotel guest might have in their own home. Hotel guests (and residential users) are seeking to tie together multiple devices to manage entertainment, energy systems, lighting, window treatments, heating and cooling. The goal is to grant hotel guests (and residential users) more control and convenience.
The pure volume of new Z-Wave 500-based smart lock products that we introduced in 2018 was certainly a major success for Kwikset. The introduction of so many new smart locks highlights Kwikset's commitment to offering customers the widest choice of functionality, styles, and price points. But it's about more than just choice. Our new offerings continue our commitment to creating smart locks that look more attractive with existing residential hardware and handlesets (i.e., they look more like residential hardware locks, rather than "commercial" locks). In addition, we spent a great deal of time and resources decreasing the size of the locks' interior as well as making the motors quieter, making them even more appealing to homeowners. This provides dealers with a wider range of lock options in their overall home automation packages. More locks for dealers = more interaction with their systems, which = higher customer satisfaction.
For 2019, as always, Kwikset will place a premium on security, not only on the actual physical security that our locks provide, but on including the most advanced security protocols in all of our locks. We will also continue to work with our integration partners to ensure that the security of the platforms and devices that our locks interface with is paramount to everyone. Another priority is to continue educating consumers on the benefits of smart locks (i.e., package delivery, ensuring the safety of kids walking home from school, etc.). The fact is, many consumers are not aware of all the features and benefits that our smart locks provide beyond the actual physical security of protecting the front door. Kwikset will not only continue to spread this message directly to consumers but to the pro channel as well, ensuring that pro channel players are better able to explain these benefits to their end users.
We see several areas that will play key roles in the evolution of the smart home including the growing use of voice assistants, the line between home automation and connected health (aging in place) continuing to blur, as consumers become more adept at using the data collected from home automation devices to provide key information about the daily activities of senior parents living at home. There will be better, more seamless connectivity between disparate devices from different manufacturers. The smart home is expanding into small business automation, which is a market that is continuing to grow and will demand more products and solutions. Multi-family applications for smart home technology are growing rapidly as well.
Staying Relevant at CES: A Guide for Marketers Preparing for the Biggest Tech Show on the Planet
By: Caster Communications
For those of us in the tech industry, the holiday season is just a little more hectic thanks to the arrival of the CES show in January.
Whether it's your first time at the show or you're a seasoned CES veteran, the show can be overwhelming to even the most experienced marketers. With thousands of booths that stretch on for miles, hundreds of thousands of attendees, and press hiding around every turn, CES is undoubtedly one of the most important shows in the technology industry. But how do you, as a brand champion for your company, ensure that your news and offerings at the show stand out among the rest?
Here are a few helpful tips:
Start joining the conversation now
Sure, it's important to stay connected on social media during CES, but don't forget to start looking for opportunities to engage ahead of the show as well. Follow the CES hashtag (#CES2019) and look for places where you can join the conversation. For example, if you see a press person asking about cool new smart home gadgets at the show, feel free to reply with a few brief details about your products. But keep it brief - press don't want to be given a sales-pitch, they want the high-level proof points and differentiators of your product.
Make sure to engage cross-platform as well. Instagram, for example, has become an increasingly saturated place for tech brands, particularly those with a B2C focus. Share pictures of your booth being built, tease out events you're holding at the show, and be sure to share lots of pictures and videos to your story during the show, using the CES 2019 hashtag. Don't underestimate the impact that a consistent stream of social engagement around tradeshows can have on organic follower growth!
Take advantage of CES media opportunities and awards
Submitting for opportunities ahead of the show can reap big benefits in terms of at-show coverage and accolades that will benefit your business throughout the entire year.
Don't forget to reach out to press during the show as well. The media receive a color-coded badge, so you will easily be able to identify them. If press seem interested in your booth or demo, engage with them and show them your demo and explain what is new and what differentiates your product from others in the market. If you're exhibiting in the Z-Wave Pavilion, be sure to share your news with the Caster Communications team and we'll be happy to help amplify with the press during booth tours.
Share your CES news with Caster Communications
Speaking of sharing your news with Caster Communications, ahead of CES, Caster Communications reaches out to members participating in the Z-Wave Pavilion to collect show news. The Z-Wave Alliance will include member press releases and news in their online press kit, available on the CES page of the Z-Wave Alliance website and will also share on Alliance social media accounts. The Z-Wave Alliance and their PR team do not book press appointments for member companies but often provide media with tours of the Z-Wave Pavilion. Member companies that provide their news and demo information ahead of the show may be able to participate in opportunities that arise in the Pavilion during the show. Caster Communications will promote member companies on the Alliance's social media channels and in social media videos at CES.
If you have any questions about PR opportunities in the Z-Wave Pavilion, please reach out to email@example.com
Tech-Buying Trends from Black Friday and Cyber Monday: What Consumers Buy and How They Buy It
Cyber Monday has become one of the longest days of the year as retailers are beginning to extend their promotions beyond the confines of a single day and offering online deals as early as Black Friday. However, the Black Friday frenzy is not completely obsolete - doorbusters are still driving consumers to brave the elements for a bargain on the latest tech gadgets from brick-and-mortar stores. But as more discounts become available online, consumer purchase behaviors are indeed changing.
Over the last decade the fastest growing sales week for the tech industry has been the week of Cyber Monday: Cyber Week. In 2017, the amount spent online per buyer on Thanksgiving Day and Black Friday exceeded what was spent at brick-and-mortar stores by nearly 20 percent. The rise and sophistication of smart phones have also contributed to the growth of Cyber Week. Consumers no longer need to shop in-store when they can window shop from their couch and make purchases from their smart phones. This holiday season, mobile phones accounted for 54 percent of visits to retail websites, and by 9 a.m. on Cyber Monday, consumers has already spent $531 million online.
So, what kinds of technologies are consumers purchasing online this holiday season?
Rapidly becoming the fastest-growing category in smart home, smart speakers were projected to sell 22 million units this holiday season, according to the Consumer Technology Association (CTA). Fueled by the popularity of voice control and now with the emergence of smart speakers with displays, six percent of consumers already planning to purchase a smart speaker admitted that they are even more likely to purchase this technology. Over Black Friday weekend, Amazon reported they sold millions of their Echo Devices worldwide, with more than 4 million electronics and gadgets ordered through the Amazon mobile app on Black Friday. And in the U.S. today, 22 percent more adults now own a smart speaker compared to the start of 2018 - that's 57.8 million people who own smart speakers in the U.S. alone.
Smart Home Technology
Fueled by the popularity of voice control, smart home security devices like wireless camera systems and video doorbells topped wish lists and were deemed some of the best smart home security deals this season. This growth can be attributed to major retailers such as Amazon, Walmart and Targetoffering some of the most competitive prices in the industry on these systems, coupled with the motivation of free shipping to make online shopping even more appealing to consumers.
Consumers aren't only seeking out voice control and smart security - they're increasingly seeking out other devices like smart outlets, smart thermostats, and smart lighting, driven by the message of being able to control everything in their home wirelessly via a mobile app. Manufacturers that offer products with built-in wireless technology like Z-Wave have the opportunity to sell to this broadening group of consumers.
What Does This Mean for Retailers?
The e-commerce market is surging and showing no signs of slowing down. As the smart home goes mainstream, consumer behaviors are evolving and retailers are learning more about what motivates and drives them into the smart home. Smart home retailers have a unique opportunity to capitalize on seasonal selling in November and December by offering Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. As more retailers stay current and adapt to consumer buying behaviors, we will likely see an uptick in smart home revenue overall, with retailers becoming a key driver of mainstream adoption.
Meet the Alliance in the Z-Wave Pavilion and Z-Wave Experience House at #CES2019
Next month the Z-Wave Alliance will return to CES to host the Z-Wave Pavilion and the Z-Wave Experience House in Sands booth #41917. The Z-Wave Experience House is a live indoor/outdoor interactive smart home and the only connected living experience at CES designed to showcase the extensive choice of compatible smart home tech available to consumers, outfitted with dozens of devices manufactured by brands supporting Z-Wave.
The Z-Wave Experience House is sponsored by abode, Google, Jasco Products and Nexia. The house will also feature products from Aeotec, Dana Lock, Dome, First Alert, Nortek, Resideo/Honeywell, Sensative, and Trane.
The Z-Wave Pavilion will include Alliance members exhibiting in their pods, introducing and demonstrating their latest products supporting Z-Wave, and exclusive interviews with company representatives.
Visit the Z-Wave Pavilion and the Z-Wave Experience House to experience new products from members including:
Connection Technology Systems, Inc. (SiMPNiC)
Dana Lock (Poly-Control)
Remotec Technology Limited
The Smartest House, LLC (Zooz)
Yale (ASSA ABLOY)
ZOME Energy Networks