Connected devices, and the connected home concept as a whole, continue to be on a growth trajectory. According to IoT expert Stacey Higginbotham who led Honeywell’s recent ‘Smart Tech, Smarter Experts’ roundtable discussion, more than 6 million Amazon Echo devices have been sold, and homeowners have an average of 11 Wi-Fi devices in their homes.
What that means for contractors in the HVAC space depends on who you ask. Some business owners are wholeheartedly embracing the connected home and the additional opportunities that come with it. One contractor in this ACHR News article discovered how easy it was to connect an Amazon Echo to the thermostat that controls his geothermal heating and cooling system. And from there, found that adding a few lighting circuits and garage door control wasn’t much more difficult. “It doesn’t require me, or anyone else, to hold an electronic device or sit at a keyboard. If this is ‘high tech,’ I’ll take it,” he commented.
Connecting your business to bigger revenue opportunities
Connected thermostats continue to be the most frequently requested home automation product. According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the smart thermostat market is on track to grow 32% by the year 2020, with no signs of slowing.
Ted Booth, senior director of user experience at Honeywell, acknowledges that Wi-Fi technologies can be challenging at first, but encourages contractors to think of it as part of today’s install process. “A number of contractors are embracing new technologies,” he said. “They recognize that installing apps on phones is now part of installing HVAC systems. To consumers, their phones are their thermostats.”
Here’s the important thing to remember: connected thermostats come with a higher average selling price (ASP) compared to their non-connected counterparts. And given that more and more customers are actually asking for them, connected thermostats are a no-brainer.
Beyond connected thermostats, of course, are a whole host of other connected products like cameras, water-leak detectors, doorbells, lights, locks and more – all with the potential to make a positive impact on your business. And the best part is, companies like Amazon, Apple and Google who make the “hubs” that control these connected devices are already doing the consumer marketing and awareness-building for you. All you have to do is ask your customers the right questions.
The one question that will change the way you sell the connected home
Even though the connected home concept is familiar to most, the mechanics of how it all works isn’t. Talking to a homeowner about APIs, ecosystems and protocols is a surefire way to make their eyes glaze over. So, instead of opening with, “Did you know the Prestige thermostat has an API that allows it to wirelessly integrate with an Amazon Echo?” try asking, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you could ask your thermostat to turn up the A/C?”
Homeowners don’t need to know exactly how the connected home works. They just need to know what’s possible. And the one question that can help you paint that picture is, “Wouldn’t it be cool if….?”.
From there, the possibilities are endless. If you know your customer is a big sports fan, you could say, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your thermostat automatically set to 72 degrees when your favorite team is playing?” (This is a real thing, by the way. It’s a “recipe” from IFTTT using Honeywell Total Connect Comfort and ESPN services.) If you know your customers suffer from seasonal allergies, you could ask, “Wouldn’t it be cool if your whole-house fan could automatically run when indoor pollution is high?”. (This is also a real thing. And, it could open the door for an IAQ sale.)
With the connected home, it’s all about showing customers how the latest tools and technologies can make their lives more convenient and comfortable. And the best way to do that is to get them thinking about real-life applications. To see a list of all the connected home partners that integrate with Honeywell products, click here.