Tag Archives: Connected home

A Take On Tech

Becky Connolly is an A-Level student who is doing work experience at CONTEXT. Given the recent survey results showing the passion of 18-24 year-olds for Smart Home products, we asked her to give her perspective on technology as a member of Generation Z.

Having come to my work experience at CONTEXT, I joined armed with nerves, excitement and my Mac. That’s right, I’m part of the BYOD generation (Bring Your Own Device), where we bring our beloved laptops, phones and tablets in fear of the unknown technology that may be lying ahead of us. Our Generation is famous for its insatiable appetite for the latest and greatest technology- the most popular connotations of Generation Z being a square-eyed teenager (often looking like a zombie) completely fixated by their devices; be it phone, laptop or television screen. But how does our perspective differ to that of older people, including millennials?

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Importance of technology
Technology has captivated our lives. I use technology in any way possible which will enhance features of my life in a few types and swipes which nowadays is becoming easier and easier.

Technology is not only used for social media, despite the heavy connotations (having said that, I am an avid Snapchat user). A large influence of technology is instilled in us from childhood, via the use of technology in classrooms; seeing as 77% of teachers use it for instruction as 81% of teachers believe that it can enrich classroom learning. Having adapted to technology through my education I have become not only more adept to technology but dependent on it for my studies; apps such as Quizlet and SimpleMind contained the sources of my revision for eight out of my ten GCSE subjects. Needless to say, technology was VERY important to me during this course.

An environment that appeals to younger generations
As the technology world blossoms, develops and shuttles into full speed, so do the minds of Generation Z. The answer is this; to attract the younger generation, the workplaces have to advance much further in an attempt to keep up with technology. If you have “dinosaur” computers which are inexplicably slow and missing out on features which are now just the “basics” paired with caveman wifi, the appeal (no matter how cool the job) will be gone, for example- if I were offered two jobs (and I liked both) and in one office there were state-of-the-art Macs and iPads dotted around everywhere, and the other used the same technology that Shakespeare used to write Macbeth, let’s just say I’d go for the former- wouldn’t you?

Furthermore, if your job entails a flair of creativity that initially could not be expressed through technology but now can be, it is essential for the young, talented recruits to have access to the advanced technology so that they can use it and develop their skills to the highest standard. Using the latest technology would also enable flexibility of the workplace. Technology-based work ensures that one can access their work in the office, at home or even abroad. This creates a sense of continuity for the worker and the company and assures that work is accessible from anywhere.

Technology investments worth making
Alongside many people of Generation Z, my prize possession is my phone; this is not uncommon, seeing as 88% of teenagers own phones, and 84% of them are smartphones. This shows that teenagers are willing to invest more in their technology for the better features. Right now, the favoured model is an iPhone; their perfect compatibility for the demands of Generation Z including social media, video streaming and education means that the price of £599 is often met and in high demand. It seems extortionate, but their dependability, fast-response and daily use make them a more worthy investment than a holiday, which would only last a few days.

As far as hopes are concerned, one cannot even begin to hope or imagine how far technology will develop over the years; if somebody told me that I’d be buying my latte via my thumbprint a few years ago… let’s just say technology is astonishing, awe-inspiring and unimaginable, really.

 

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Filed under Mobile technology, PCs, Retail, Smart Home, Smart Technology

Smart Home survey Latam unveiled

CONTEXT recently expanded its smart-home survey coverage to Latam and Howard Davies, our CEO, presented the results at the recent GTDC conference in Miami.

This category is still in its infancy in Latam but, since things are now moving in the US and the UK, accelerated by the arrival of voice control with Amazon Echo and Google Home, we are keen to establish a baseline.

Here are some interesting findings from the survey:

  • Timescales given in response to the question, “When do you envisage you will have a smart home?” are shortest in Mexico. Brazil and Argentina are next, and Chile is some way behind.
  • It is open season on smart home for the channels – none has established themselves as the natural go-to place: in two countries (Brazil and Argentina) online retailing leads, in two others (Chile and Mexico) DIY is in front. Specialist technology retailers lag throughout Latam, which is surprising.
  • Awareness of voice control is high, in particular Apple Siri. This makes these countries fertile ground for the launch of Amazon Alexa and Google Home although, at the moment, people prefer to use smartphones to access smart home. We think this will change when they see the ease of access voice control provides.
  • Thermostats, lightbulbs, smart plugs, smart doorbells and locks, and smart cameras are the products people are most aware of. Lightbulbs and plugs are the entry products, the ones people are going to buy (intention to purchase > 4%). Smart doorbells and smart sound systems cross this threshold too.
  • Interestingly, leading reasons for purchase differ by country – security in Brazil and Chile, automation and making life easier in Mexico, lowering energy costs in Argentina. “Because it’s just cool,” scores very highly in Chile and Argentina – is this coming from tech lovers, early adopters, or just people for whom image is important?
  • Lack of understanding of benefits and lack of knowledge of products are key barriers, and this is unsurprising. But the strong vote for products that work together should be a call to action for the industry. The importance of integrated offerings is supported by the number of people who say that they don’t understand how the smart home concept fits together. The manufacturer or retailer who really communicates and delivers this will be in a strong position.
  • People are more concerned about the physical risks of owning a smart home product than the cyber risks. Product malfunction is the top risk in all countries.
  • The only country where retailers are doing a reasonable job of explaining smart home is Mexico.
  • There is a three horse race for the hub – Amazon Echo leads in Brazil, Google Home in Chile and Apple Homekit in Mexico. In Argentina, Amazon Echo and Google Home are neck and neck.

Smart Home in 2017 is going to be a battle of the giants! For more information, please click here!

by AS

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Filed under Connectivity, Home automation, Smart Home, Smart Technology

What is the state of Smart Home Retail in Central London?

Our Smart Home consumer survey in August showed that only 29% of UK respondents had seen smart home products in a retail store, compared to 39% in Germany, so I decided to see what I could find out about the state of smart home retail in London. “Where are your Homekit products?” I asked on arriving at the Apple store in Regent Street. “What is that?” answered the front of store welcomer. Trying another ecosystem, I went to Currys PC World in Tottenham Court Road “Can you show me where the SmartThings products are?” The welcomer did better– he pointed me to a stand full of smart and connected products. But it was not the SmartThings stand, about which he evidently knew nothing. I then went to John Lewis’s to their Oxford Street store to see the new ideal home area which they have recently refurbished at multi-million pound cost. There were approximately 3 square metres of Smart Home Products in the technology area and nothing was to be seen in the ideal home area which sits on two floors. Smart home is definitely not front of mind in London.

To say that is to ignore one retailer – Maplin in Tottenham Court Road. Here it is almost the opposite extreme as they have developed a full merchandising concept of “Connected Home” with around 50% of the space branded under this banner. This includes cameras, tablets, home automation as well as TV & home entertainment, computer cables, hard drives, smart lighting – the connected home is shown off in its broadest possible definition.

If bricks and mortar retailers don’t make more of an effort they risk becoming irrelevant, and this is a missed opportunity, as consumers are asking for more information about smart home products, and every indication is that sooner or later, this category is going to grow exponentially. In our August survey, 60% said they did not understand enough about smart home products. The other risk is that they leave the space for online retail. 56% of survey respondents had heard about smart home products online. Some of the most successful players in the market are pure play etailers – specialists such as Vesternet in the UK and Conrad in Germany, and generalists such as Amazon across Europe. The specialists are becoming very good at explaining to customers what they need, and how to build a smart home. With Dixons recent announcement that they are launching a ‘home gadgets’ emergency service, they are getting closer to the consumer needs on smart home, but we need more imaginative displays and merchandising in store, as well as knowledgeable trained staff, in order to build up this category.

by AS

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Filed under Home automation, Retail in CONTEXT, Smart Technology

Get Connected for the Smart Channels Summit, DISTREE EMEA, 26 February 2015

We have to win the hearts, the minds and budgets of consumers

Winning the hearts, the minds and budgets of consumers will be key for Retailers looking to succeed in Smart Channels. Currently only 5% of consumers know where to buy a Smart product, according to a study quoted by Hans Carpels at the CEO Retail breakfast in Las Vegas last month. Retailers will need to apply savvy strategies to capture consumers against a backdrop of a number of players looking to gain market share in a market increasingly targeted by home improvement companies, IT vendors, big-data driven insurance companies and smart home technologies.

The opportunities are huge: At the IFA last autumn, Jeremy Rifkin said that we are moving from a world of 13 billion sensors today to one that will use 100 trillion by 2030.

Hosted by CONTEXT, the Smart Channels Summit, held at DISTREE EMEA on 26 February,  will explore six themes to capture Wearables, Connected products and Internet of Things (IoT):

  • Educate the consumer: Stéphane Bohbot shares the role of LICK stores’ associates as coaches, helping consumers understand this new world of Smart possibilities
  • Make the ICT Retail channel attractiveJohn Olsen demonstrates EURONICS approach and Vincent Slevin will show ways that Samsung provides enhanced customer experience through its Retail solutions. After the recent launch of the first private-label 3D printer from Auchan, Flavien Dhellemmes asks if Retailers can go faster by investing in private label
  • Keep hold of your customers: with so many new forms of competition, a Smart hub solution like the Iris adopted by Lowe’s in the US, will be presented by Jean-Claude Kiessling from Qivicon (Deutsche Telekom)
  • Make service a differentiating factor: Join the discussion with three key Retail experts, and other panel speakers 
  • Pick winning products and categories: D-Link’s Smart portfolio from Luigi Salmoiraghi, and the collaborations he needs with Retailers to make Smart Homes a reality. Fred Brown, well-known to attendees of DISTREE conferences as the host of FRESH (an introduction to the latest, most innovative products), will share his expertise on identifying winning new technology products
  • Make it easy for consumers with a long-term and interoperable technology offering: expert guidance given by Benoit Van Den Bulcke, and we will hear about the AllSeen Alliance from EURONICS.

This rich panel of speakers has been brought together by CONTEXT as part of what we call #newretailthinking – the ability to find new models and new formats in the old world of ICT Retail. CONTEXT will provide insight into best practices from across the world, and will chair this summit. We look forward to connecting with you there!

Join us at the Smart Channels Summit DISTREE EMEA, Monaco on 26 February 2015.

Meet with fellow ICT Retail professionals to focus on how the Retail channel will evolve to deliver smart technologies, solutions and services to consumers.

The session, hosted by CONTEXT, is entitled: “Smart Channels: Retailing Connected Devices, Wearables and Internet of Things (IoT).”

To register your interest simply visit: http://www.contextworld.com/en/smart-channels-summit1 or contact me,  Adam Simon, Global Managing Director, Retail Business Development asimon@contextworld.com

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Filed under Retail in CONTEXT, Uncategorized