Profiling Smart Home Customers

Most of the smart home “systems” on the UK market today are starter kits. These attract people with an interest in using the new technology, and they enable these people to “dabble”, but they fall well short of providing a complete solutions for customers.

Smart systems have been over-simplified in the eyes of the consumers, but customers quickly realise the limitations of the current systems, and the complexities.  For these reasons, customers do not take them much beyond the use of the initial starter kits, and a lot of negative comments are generated.

Anticipate Target Customer's Requirements

The starting point should be an anticipation of the target customers’ likely requirements.  This breaks down into their particular interest or need, the property in which they live, and the socio-economic group to which they belong.

The customers’ main interests are likely to be some combination of :-
  • Security 
  • Comfort 
  • Convenience
  • Energy saving
  • Ambience
Customer properties can be categorised by size and configuration.  For example, in the UK as a whole, 80% of all properties are houses or bungalows, 18% are flats or maisonettes, 30% are semi-detached, 30% are terraced houses, and 22% are detached.

There are likely to be regional variations in the relative importance that customers place on their possible interests and their type of property.  On the latter point, for example, 90% of properties in the Midlands are houses or bungalows, versus only 50% in London.

The socio-economic group to which a customer belongs is likely to be couple with the size and type of their property, within any given region.  For the UK as a whole, 22% are AB, 31% are C1, 21% are C2, and 26% are DE.

Systems for each likely interest and property type

A range of systems can be offered for each likely interest and property type.  For example, one might be a security system for semi-detached properties in London.  In a relatively affluent area of the country, and with most of the family out during the day, they’re rich pickings for burglars.  Comfort and energy saving might be a higher priority for a larger family living in a detached house in the Midlands.

“One size fits all” doesn’t work, but it should be possible to offer a range of fairly standard systems for many customers.  

The best way of approaching this market is by starting with bespoke solutions that meet a range of possible customer interests, especially for those with mid-range properties.  These bespoke solutions must embrace all aspects, and especially ease of installation, and expansion, reliability, availability, maintenance, and security. 

A Range of Solutions

A range of more standardised solutions can then be derived to meet most of the target customers’ requirements.  Standardising these systems will lower their installation costs, and make them more attractive to resellers in each applicable sector, such as in plumbing, lighting, etc.  

Customers with relatively smaller properties within a particular may be less able to afford a smart system.  Those with larger properties may need a more bespoke solution, but these customers should also be more able to afford a system designer / installer