Smart tech is almost fully embedded in much of our daily lives now. You can ask Alexa to turn the radio on, switch the lights off and unlock the door. Your fridge can play TV shows and tell you what meals to have. Cars are becoming self-driving. What a world.
Our industry is playing its part in the tech revolution too. With products like Smart Ready, Kubu and Ultion SMART making genuine waves. We saw at the 2019 FIT Show how big the tech presence had grown. It was one of the key takeaways for me.
But its hard to measure whether its actually breaking through to installers and home owners. We can make a big noise about it as an industry, but the long and short of it is we need to shift units. So is smart window and door tech now breaking through?
150+ signed up
I often find installers are the hardest ones to win round when it comes to mixing technology and windows and doors. Usually its a combination of fear of the product failing and the extra it will cost to home owners. If the installer is won round to the idea, its then down to them to sell the idea to the home owner. Its no good them only being half-enthused though. That comes across to the home owner and won’t result in the product being sold.
Before Christmas I spoke to the guys at Brisant Secure and they told me that over 150 companies were already signed up to sell their Ultion SMART lock to installers. That includes our company by the way. Ultion SMART launched last year, with its main pagentry taking place at the FIT Show. In an industry which at times seems almost allergic to change and new things, to have 150+ companies on board to sell a smart tech product is very good going.
At this point I want to invite the teams at Kubu and Smart Ready to get in touch with me to let me know how they’re getting on as well. It would help build a picture of the smart tech landscape in UK fenestration right now and show whether as a whole its now making an impact.
Personally I do think we’re getting there with it now. We have had false dawns with other products. Quality and reliability have been called into question at various times. Alternative products that I thought were good enough are based in the US and won’t work over here. However, we now have a raft of options which appear to be functioning properly, providing genuine USP’s to installers to give home owners good enought reasons to buy. And that there is the key. Home owners have to believe that if they’re going to spend extra money on what it still a very new thing for windows and doors, they have to believe its a useful purchase rather than just a novelty.
A tech-based future
As I alluded to at the top, many other parts of our lives are already using smart tech in various ways. Its almost assumed now that with whatever semi-major purchase we make, we expect it to have some sort of smart tech, functionality or smart compatibility included. It could be a car, kitchen, phone, fridge, TV, blender, toothbrush or baby monitor. Homes now include smart energy meters now as standard if they are new.
Its 2020 and we all need to accept that we’re living in a tech-based future that is going to impact all aspects of our lives. Windows and doors included. Instead of being stubborn about progress, whilst the rest of the world moves forward we should always be looking at the advantages new technology and ideas can help up. Stop being overly concerned about the price of something, sell it based on the positives it can bring. I’m sure thats what those 150 or so companies are thinking when they decided to sell the Ultion SMART lock when it launched.
Personally I’m excited about the possibilties of smart window and door tech over the next ten years. I expect it to fully integrate with other home security and entire smart home systems. It will create new deterrents against burglars. The products will get better looking over time. Prices should naturally fall lower as with a new technologies that become more mainstream. Products will become easier to use for home owners. As of right now, all the technology required to make all of this work exists, it just needs the right people with the right investment to make it work.
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