NEWSLETTER
SEPTEMBER 2018
CEDIA Expo 2018: Trends and Thoughts
From the Show Floor
By: Mitchell Klein, Executive Director
I'm finally home and settled from CEDIA Expo 2018 in San Diego and wow - what a show! I was fortunate enough to spend lots of time chatting with our members exhibiting at the show, partners, press and others that wanted to learn more about Z-Wave and all of the great work being done in the residential market. This year in the Z-Wave Pavilion, we were accompanied by exhibiting POD members Fibaro, Parakeet, Observables, Dome, Guardian, Aeotec and Hogar Controls, and we also demonstrated dozens of member products on our interoperability wall. We of course highlighted the Certified Installer Toolkit (CIT) to help installers ensure a reliable Z-Wave network, every time. As many of you know, the audience for CEDIA Expo is very much the installer or integrator - folks with their boots on the ground, installing smart home in residential projects large or small, so our members brought forth their best solutions for installers looking for unique and reliable product and service offerings.
 
Meanwhile, voice control continued to be hot - it was everywhere, from the obvious (Google's booth) to the sublime (voice controlled high-end theater in the Rayva booth). The Google Assistant team was everywhere, including in our booth at two member pods, Hogar Controls and Fibaro.
 
Big pictures were the big draw, as both Sony and Samsung showed their million dollar (!) big screens, with more realistically priced 4k and 8k screens showing terrific video. Along with that were great multichannel sound and the rebirth of great 2-channel audio (remember stereo?)
 
Focus on the Installer

That said, one big focus for the Z-Wave community at the show was education for installers. It is important that installers at every skill level learn how to set up networks that are reliable, easily expanded upon and secure to ensure customer satisfaction and ultimately boost sales. In the Pavilion, member Fibaro spoke with attendees about their recently announced Installer Training Program that can be completed in one day, to provide skilled professionals with practical knowledge and expertise required to design, configure, and install Fibaro smart home systems. There was also a push for education from the Alliance - myself and Z-Wave Alliance's director of technology Rick Tinker led CEDIA trainings that addressed getting started with Z-Wave and how to design, install and manage Z-Wave networks. I also gave an overview of the various wireless protocols in the smart home market and considerations for each. As a leading voice in the smart home conversation, it's important for us as the Alliance to continue to find ways to educate installers with our members. More informed installers = more satisfied Z-Wave customers.
 
New Products Everywhere

We also saw unique product offerings designed with installers in mind like the Guardian Bridge. The Guardian Bridge connects to the popular Guardian Leak Detector to send out notifications during a leak and other emergency events, making it easier than ever for installers to remotely troubleshoot and access the device. (Check out EH's Lisa Montgomery's write up on CE Pro.) Parakeet also showed off their unique solution for remote management and smart home connectivity in an MDU/rental property setting and Hogar Controls showed off their line of design-first, highly-responsive touch panels, perfect for customers who want tech that blends into the home.
 
Observables demonstrated their their new AlwaysON™ Premises Management Platform with network management that offers integrators the opportunity to monitor network performance for their customers and diagnose issues before they become a crisis.  Dome and Aeotec shared their line of smart home sensors, lighting, and extenders - all very budget conscious, yet powerful Z-Wave product options.

Heading into Q4 Strong
 
This year has been fantastic for growth; with over 700 Alliance members and it's exciting to see a growing number of those members represent the professional installer and integrator space. DIY is still a big trend, but there is also a lot to be said for the opportunities that exist in the pro space and the ways in which these businesses are contributing to the mission of making smart home more mainstream and accessible for consumers.
 
We're looking forward to having discussions like this and more at our upcoming Fall Summit, September 24-26, 2018 in Philadelphia. If you're attending, we can't wait to see you and even if you can't attend, be sure to follow along on activities at the show via our social channels - links are at the bottom of this newsletter.
UPCOMING EVENTS

September 25 - September 26, 2018, London, UK
Click here for 20% off ticket pricing

October 16 - October 19, 2018 Tokyo, Japan
Click here for Member Participation Options
Member Pavilion Space Available

October 16 - October 17, 2018 Dallas, TX
Receive 20% off conference passes with code ZWAVE20

October 16 - October 18, 2018 Barcelona, Spain
Receive 50% off ticket price with code 0CA6CE97

November 28 - November 30, 2018 Chicago, IL
Receive $200 off ticket price with code Z-Wave200

January 8- January 11, 2019 Las Vegas, NV
Click here for Member Participation Options
Member Pavilion Space Available

February 5 - February 9, 2019 Amsterdam, Netherlands
Click here for Member Participation Options
Member Pavilion Space Available
IN THE FIELD
From Passing Trends to Industry Standards: What Will the Next Big Tech at CEDIA Expo Be?

By: Mitchell Klein, executive director, Z-Wave Alliance

This year's CEDIA Expo was full of great conversations, new product launches and demonstrations all discussing the future of the smart home for integrators. Z-Wave Alliance's executive director Mitchell Klein weighed in on the top trends of 2018 for the residential CE channel and smart home, and thoughts on the future in this feature originally published on Residential Systems.


 

If there's one thing we can all count on in this rapidly changing connected-home world, it's that conventional wisdom is no longer conventional. Capabilities and technology that may seem like a look into the future become current trends very quickly - and the move from passing trends to expectations from end-users and installers alike happens almost as fast.


 

Voice Control is the Norm

 

Take voice control, for example. Just one year ago we were all drawn to the Amazon booth at CEDIA in San Diego, and excited to experience the love that our Alexa-focused potential business partner showed for the CE channel. Only one year before that, many of us were unconvinced that voice control was ready for prime-time; now our customers demand it and our favorite control companies are all accommodating it. Voice control in the smart home has grown, from a maybe, to a trend, to a must have. Really fast, too.


 

Not to be outdone, Google dove in with open arms and ready-support to help manufacturers launch "OK Google" in homes and commercial space across the world and have taken Amazon's place at the annual integrator gathering in San Diego next month (well, OK they're co-locating with Nest - but point made!). And let's not forget Josh.ai with their advanced voice recognition platform focused on the integrator channel.

 

Still not convinced? New research out this month from NPR and Edison research reveals that "39 million Americans (one in six!) now own a smart speaker" - a figure that's up 128 percent from January, 2017" - via TechCrunch. Yet as much as voice control has become a necessary component of almost every connected home project, we're already looking beyond voice and at the next 'it' technology for the smart home.

 

What could possibly be beyond voice? Consider the next move into the 'smart' part of "smart home" - beyond the connected home and changes to the user experience on a large scale. Artificial Intelligence - AI - is now the hot discussion amongst folks in the integrator and developer community. These systems will learn (perhaps continually) from user patterns and outside stimuli, and create their own "macros"; thus an away mode would become self-aware enough to ensure the correct lights are off or on (using time & weather variables), the temperature set, security system armed, cameras set to record, and so on. Users will no longer have to create or modify these scenes; they will be created simply by learning usage patterns. There are trainings for developers everywhere on AI and all your favorite control companies are already well on their way in their own product development. Stay tuned - we may just see AI be the next hot trend at CEDIA 2019 or 2020.


 

Builders Move on Up


 

Another big trend seen at CEDIA is the increasing prevalence of the builder community at the show. Last year we found that builders were beginning to take notice of consumer demand for connected homes. Now, smart home is becoming standard in new homes and retrofits - and the trend isn't slowing down. In May of this year, Lennar partnered with Amazon to provide Alexa-controlled smart home capability for all of their new home builds. In June, Toll Brothers, the nations' largest builder of luxury homes, announced a host of smart devices that are now standard in all their new homes as of July 1, 2018, with available upgrade packages from Alarm.com and Control4. Not just for the national home builders, Ohio-based home builder Diyanni is providing smart home products in all their custom homes. Also this year, Control4 also announced their new Certified Showrooms initiative in dealer showrooms across the globe, meant to give consumers a place to check out smart home tech in a practical, hands-on environment set up to replicate different rooms of the home.   

 

Integrators have become an increasingly bigger part of the builder conversation and can offer services to partner with builders to provide smart home "standards" and upgrade consultation and installs during the home build process. More important to both builder and homeowner, integrators can (and should!) provide ongoing support after the homeowner has moved in, which is a major point to be made.


 

Other Trends: Security, MDU, Millennial Home Buyers and Hi-Res Audio

 

There are other items that have moved from 2017 trends to 2018 standards; think doorbell cameras. From popular brand offerings such as Ring, Nest, and Skybell to every control & camera company, doorbell cameras are ubiquitous and a necessary demand item in the smart home.

 

Let's not forget security - the entire burglar alarm category has exploded from the lowly numeric keypad on the wall to a fully integrated, must-have system in all modern smart homes. Demand may have seemed flat for a while, but last year's introduction of numerous DIY alarm products has greatly increased consumer awareness and brought new functionality to burglar alarms with a host of smart-home devices.

 

Millennials are the new largest demographic and they're buying homes! This represents a huge opportunity for integrators to take advantage of their preference for tech, such as the smart home. Even those not buying represent a huge opportunity, as many smart devices do not require wiring or permanent installation, thus may be taken with them as they move from home to home. We still have some work to do in identifying the way we communicate smart home to millennials, but as this demographic continues to mature and grow, we should expect to see the conversation become more prevalent among the smart tech community.

 

What about taking smart home outside of the home and into apartments? MDU properties are not to be left out - this is a big trend, where condos as well as rental units are also seeing the "smart home love". MDU's are a huge opportunity for integrators to promote and champion for smart home tech - just take a look at the various companies that provide both the renter/owner, as well as property manager, the ability to monitor and maintain their properties. Companies such as Rently Keyless and Parakeet will be showing their platforms at CEDIA and are worthy of a look.


 

Another growing - and profitable - trend? Think high-res audio. A host of upgrade audio components, speakers, streaming services and wireless audio products are gaining traction, and turntables really are back with Millenials enjoying the improvement in sound, as well as the fun collecting and listening to albums. Even my son's college friends are hanging out in the dorm and playing records, believe it or not!


 

Technology for the smart home continues to provide real opportunities for all, as trends that come on fast and rapidly become expectations for consumers. 

Z-WAVE ON THE ROAD
Z-Wave Alliance on the Road: Z-Wave Fall Summit

The Z-Wave Fall Summit is just around the corner and we're all excited to see our members in Philadelphia! If you're new to the Alliance or unfamiliar with our summits, twice a year, the Alliance holds member summits in the U.S. and in Europe where attendees listen to and participate in a series of engaging panels, fireside chats, and workshops led by industry leaders and peers on smart home and IoT. 
 
This year, the two-day event, September 24-26 will take place in Philadelphia and is sponsored by members Bulogics, Acte, LEEDARSON and PlumChoice. The Summit will commence with a keynote by Katelyn Mason of Google on The Future of the Intelligent Interactions, with insight into future products that will take advantage of ambient computing and contextual awareness. Throughout the Summit, attendees will gain valuable knowledge on market trends from thought leaders and analysts and hear about case studies and implementing Z-Wave in different IoT applications.
 
Fall Summit attendees with technical roles will have the opportunity to join the Developer's Forum Technical Track designed to provide engineers with the most current technology and development knowledge. Technical Track highlights include a deep dive on the 700-series chipset with training on the new, long range, low power and future-proof hardware platform.
 
The Business and Marketing track will provide hands-on workshops for Z-Wave Alliance members and partners in attendance engaged in marketing or business roles within their group. Sessions include an overview of market trends panel with leading industry analysts, discussions on smart home, artificial intelligence and the insurance sector, a fireside chat with Wirecutter's smart home editor Grant Clauser and case study discussions with Z-Wave members, including Evolve Controls' use of Z-Wave and other technologies in hospitality.
 
If you're not able to attend the event, you can still follow along with live updates on our social media channels (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram) and be sure to keep an eye out in early 2019 for more information on the Spring Summit in Europe.

INDUSTRY SPOTLIGHT



Connected Home Insurance: Over-Hyped or
Under-Estimated?

Contributed by: Connected Insurance USA Summit

Despite early (and legitimate) concerns around data-security and cyber-attacks, connected home adoption is steadily increasing as consumers become more comfortable with the technology. According to research by Parks Associates, of U.S. households with broadband, 32% own at least one connected device and more than 50% of those plan to increase this in the next year. This predicted growth is backed up by reporting from the National Association of Realtors, who expect the smart home market to become a $130 billion industry by 2020. 

The increased integration of IoT devices and AI into the home has created a wide range of opportunities for insurance carriers; the implications for risk mitigation and management and real-time data gathering are becoming understood, but to truly maximize the potential of covering connected homes, insurance carriers must become as smart as the homes they are insuring.

The novelty of AI and IoT means that while they are exciting, they also lack historical use cases. A typically risk-averse industry, insurance has therefore been relatively slow to adapt to this new wave of innovation. Many just aren't convinced of the long-term benefits of providing coverage to connected homes, fearing it may be a flash-in-the-pan phenomenon or simply not cost-effective.

And yet, we can glean clear benefits for both insurance carriers and customers from existing connected home insurance providers and these do indeed suggest a long-term future for connected home insurance.

One clear benefit to both lies in the smart sensors that a comprise a connected home. Having detected an event (be it water leakage, fire or smoke damage), these sensors will typically notify the insured and, if they wish, a solution-provider who can act to mitigate loss. While their efficacy in preventing claims is in debate (and can only truly be ascertained through further use and analysis), there is evidence of substantial risk mitigation that implies great benefit to both parties, as "better" risks translate to safer customers, smaller claims and lower premiums.

Using live data to analyze and measure risks also makes more accurate and pricing and underwriting decision-making possible. While efficient for the carrier, it also ensures that customers who actively seek to lower their risk receive more competitive premiums and claims can be assessed more accurately. Taken further, carriers can use IoT data to segment their customer base more effectively, allowing them to offer more relevant, personalized and targeted products to customers.

Connected home insurance may, in fact, call into question the fundamental role of insurance carriers themselves. Speaking to Insurance Nexus about their use of sensor technology in both home and commercial use, one carrier unearthed a range of unexpected benefits for both themselves and customers, the principal being risk exposure management. One customer with a moisture-detecting sensor, for example, was alerted to a minor leak and was able to act before any damage occurred. Not only did this prevent a potential claim, "the fact that they had eyes on their business by way of sensors prevented money coming right out of their pocket."

Another carrier, Hippo Insurance, provides active customers with IoT devices to mitigate risk as well as using high-definition satellites to notify them about changes in the condition of their roof. These added services are only possible due to the savings that connected homes provide carriers through automation and efficient gathering of IoT data.

Some insurance carriers are also looking at combining the functionality of multiple devices into a single, branded application, suddenly becoming a partner in home management, rather than just an insurance provider. Proactive measures like these increase trust and strengthen the relationship between the carrier and the insured. Customers are less likely to view insurance as a service they hope to never use, but rather, a valuable partner in keeping themselves secure, both materially and financially

Overall, the picture looks bright for connected home insurance. Efficient, accurate and automated data gathering is a clear 'win' for insurance carriers, and the potential to provide value-added services greatly enhances their role in their eyes of the customer. Customers who trust and rely on their insurance provider are far less likely to leave. Accurate pricing that rewards less risky behavior is a clear bonus for customers and insurance carriers and this also makes targeted and personalized product offerings possible, which in turn help customers by providing them with the right product offerings when they're needed.
The ability to accurately automate aspects of the pricing, underwriting and claims processes also represents potentially huge efficiency savings. The improved customer experience that comes with real-time support, risk-management and automatic referral to solution-providers also cannot be underestimated, particularly when a distressing loss event has occurred. Fundamentally, insuring connected homes leads to a vastly improved customer experience, lower risks and premiums and the forging of a closer bond between carriers and customers.

For more on the technology, product, services and strategy that will make up comprehensive and innovative home insurance in the future, head to Insurance Nexus' Connected Insurance USA Summit (November 28-30, Chicago). Bringing together senior business and innovation executives, the conference will explore how to harness IoT, AI, blockchain, VR/AR and automation, delivering both an enhanced customer experience and a more efficient carrier.

Listen to "Balancing Risk: Defining Value in Product Development Innovation for Customer and Carrier" Webinar recordings here.
 
Get a $200USD discount when register to Connected Insurance USA Summit, use code Z-Wave200
MARKETING MATTERS
Why CEDIA Expo and Other Industry Trade Shows Matter for your Business


If you are involved in any facet of tech, it is likely that you have attended or helped exhibit at a trade show with your company. While they are incredibly demanding undertakings that require a lot of hard work and preparation, trade shows can reap major rewards for your integrator business and offer you lots of exposure that can help bolster your marketing and sales efforts. 

Here are a few reasons that attending a tradeshow can benefit your business, whether you're an integrator or a manufacturer:

Personal connections
  • In today's digital world, tradeshows are a nice break from online communication and give you the opportunity to sit down with customers, prospects, partners, clients, or the press face-to face and form connections that are based on real-time conversations. It is often easier to communicate your value prop and company benefits in-person where you can easily pivot the conversation based on how a potential customer or partner is reacting to your message. 
Opportunity to show off your business
  • Because of the nature of a tradeshow and the level of traffic through the show floor, exhibiting at a show can be a great decision for your business. Depending on your target audience, there are hundreds of shows you can attend to demonstrate products, show off projects you've worked on that show the value of your business, and make connections.  The Z-Wave Pavilion hosted by the Alliance often travels to shows across the globe, so be sure to keep an eye on the newsletter or on the member website for upcoming opportunities. The Pavilion is a great way to secure a space on the show floor close to other Z-Wave members and potentially even meet new business partners.  
Partnerships
  • Even if you can't exhibit, you can still benefit from attending a trade show to walk the floor and talk to people. The nature of a trade show gives you the opportunity to speak with other industry folks to collaborate, bounce ideas off each other or to simply make sales. Getting to sit down with someone over dinner to chat through ideas can be substantially more influential than a Skype call or email thread.
Media exposure
  • Forming relationships with media through face to face interactions is a great way to help bolster coverage for your company or brand and can result in valuable press coverage. If you're attending a show in the Z-Wave Pavilion, we work with members to promote your news via an Alliance press release for some shows, online press kit that is shared with media, and promotion via social media channels and the Alliance website. We also often give members of the press a "booth tour" where we introduce members to members of the press and allow them to offer a rundown on their news or new products for the show. Be sure to keep an eye out for emails from our team for Pavilion shows and even if you're not exhibiting in the Pavilion but have news, feel free to send it our way and we're happy to add it to the website!

MEMBER OPPORTUNITIES
Member Opportunity: Z-Wave Year-End
State of the Ecosystem 2019 Report

As we rapidly approach the end of 2018, we're excited to announce a new content initiative from the Alliance: the "Z-Wave Year End Report: State of the Ecosystem" that will present on the status of Z-Wave activities in 2018, as well as the work that Z-Wave members are contributing to the smart home and IoT, including top news and updates to Z-Wave from the year, new product features, data and trend analysis, and more. 

The report is set to be unveiled at CES 2019 to support the message of Z-Wave ecosystem growth, as well as the technological advances that the Z-Wave protocol offers the smart home market and the greater IoT. 

It will be distributed and shared with key media channels like analysts, top-tier consumer and smart home tech press and industry influencers. 

A preview of the content:
  • An overview of top smart home and IoT trends from 2018 and projections for 2019, stats supporting growth and popularity among consumers, other key markets
  • Z-Wave: technology updates and important milestones 
  • Product spotlights: new and innovative products introduced in 2018 that are helping reshape what Z-Wave looks like for the future
  • Deeper dives into the technological innovations impacting smart home and how Z-Wave is addressing each of those - such as voice control, predictive learning and AI, and others
SPOTLIGHT OPPORTUNITY: The year-end report will include a select few company spotlights - any Z-Wave member or IoT company interested in being featured in the Z-Wave report is eligible to have a page-profile on your brand's innovative offerings and message.

Participating companies will have the opportunity to promote their company brand and message to these media targets, industry influencers and CES show attendees in the popular Z-Wave Pavilion. This is a unique opportunity to be involved in the exciting growth that Z-Wave is experiencing and to position your company as a thought-leader in the space. 

If you're interested in participating - reach out to us at zwave@castercomm.com and let's get the conversation started. Don't miss out on this exciting opportunity to be a part of the Z-Wave story at CES and beyond!
BOD PROFILE
NEW MEMBERS
 

SEE+HEAR #ZWAVE