Last week I published the first in a two-part special interview with Smart Ready® Director Giovanni Laporta. It gave us an insight into the man himself, his background, how he found his way into the fenestration sector and his own personal motivations. In part 2, we take a wider view of the industry in general, where it may be headed and how smart tech will change the sector in the years to come.
1. Has smart tech in fenestration progressed as far as expected?
Absolutely not. It’s not even reached the 1% mark
2. What has held back the adoption of smart tech in fenestration?
We’ve not hit the market yet, but just watch the sparks fly when we do.
3. Do you think there is a genuine tech race within fenestration?
No, but the less I say on this the better.
4. Is fenestration innovative and progressive enough with new ideas and new products?
Some, yes, but it’s not what I would call genuine innovation. Generally speaking, though, yes. We’ve seen some exciting products come to market – flush windows, the uptake of aluminium – but this industry is a reactive industry rather than proactive, and I’ve seen that there is always a leader that the rest of the industry then follows.
5. What will smart tech in fenestration look like in ten years time?
Smart will get cleaner, simpler, and all be voice controlled. It will also be as common as washing machines, fridges, TVs and any other home appliance you can think of that we see as everyday technologies.
6. Does the adoption of smart tech need to be done by suppliers or be driven by installers?
There isn’t a split between these two groups, both need to lead the charge jointly. Suppliers need to see the value of tech and work out how to add that value to their current offering, and installers need to understand the depth of value that this tech has for the consumer. The trick is making it easy for both these groups to sell, which is what Smart Ready is about. It makes it easy to understand and then sell.
7. What has been the biggest industry mistake in your opinion?
Apathy towards innovation; apathy towards eco-friendly products; apathy towards paying a small premium for an obviously better product.
8. What has been the biggest industry success in your opinion?
If we do by the sheer volume and what has had the biggest collective impact and what’s been embraced by the industry, I’d probably say the shift in hardware when we moved from espag to shoot bolt. That would be the biggest success in terms of product change
9. Does fenestration require a new generation of forward thinkers to create the change and innovation we need?
Yes, of course it does. Every industry requires the next generation of forward thinkers. I’m reasonably certain that the sons and daughters of current business owners are coming in and taking over with a different way of thinking. I think there will be a natural handover where things will change organically, but we need to speed it up if we’re going to see significant change anytime soon.
10. What new products in smart tech should we be keeping an eye out for?
Well, obviously, smart windows and doors. But if we’re taking a broader view, smart tch products that are Matter Compatible. These products don’t require consumers to have multiple, product-specific hubs, but allow you to control all the smart products from one hub. Alexa, Google, Apple Home Pods are examples of devices that are already pushing towards that.
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