With the market for smart home devices expected to grow to $246 billion by 2022, many professional residential contractors are trying to cut off a piece of the pie by including smart home installations alongside the traditional services they offer. You see this in HVAC, plumbing, telecommunications, security, and wiring, to name a few. While it makes a lot of sense for all of these professionals to expand their offerings- after all, they are already in the house at some point or another- this edition of the newsletter will focus on the unique challenges and benefits for electrical contractors and electricians.
Market at a glance
The global market for smart home is expected to grow to $246 billion by 2022
832 million smart devices were shipped last year
46% of consumers believe it is important that their current or next home have smart technology
Using smart home technology can reduce the amount of electrical waste by up to 31% per household
57% of US residents believe that having smart tech in the house improves their lives
Challenges for Electrical Contractors
Traditional profit models
Many residential electrical contractors (ECs) make their profits on volume. They get into a house, wire it up, and move on to the next one. It is rare that he or she return to a location when something isn’t working. With smart home products, contractors are seeing an increase in warranty call backs from their customers and this can quickly cut into profits.
Device installation vs. tech installation
It is very easy for a qualified electrician to wire up a smart outlet or smart light switch but what happens when they need to set up that device so that it works remotely or with a virtual assistant like Alexa or Google Assistant? An electrician may find him or herself trying to set up a smart device on location but run into issues with the internet or the app not working. These added headaches can cause delays and also cut into profit margins.
Too many choices
Though many people are familiar with and interested in smart home technology, the adoption rate is quite low. This is in part due to an abundance of products available and the lack of interoperability between different brands. There are too many dedicated apps and the products don’t necessarily work together. Alexa, Google Assistant, and other costly control systems do a good job of integrating products from different brands, but none have emerged as the clear winner yet. Electricians spend so much of their time keeping up to date with electrical code that they don’t have time to keep up with the ever-changing smart home industry as well.
Swidget’s unique modular smart home platform gives ECs a competitive edge to hold their position in the market without all of the headaches of other smart home products. The outlet or light switches can be installed “smart-ready” and the homeowner can purchase the plug and play Inserts from Swidget or the distributor and install them on their own. The responsibility for after installation service and warranty falls to Swidget, saving the contractor the hassle of returning to the site to deal with issues.
As many smart products are low voltage and require very little training to install, it is very difficult for ECs to compete with low voltage contractors for these jobs. Because Swidget base devices-outlets and light switches -must be installed by an electrician, this acts as a barrier to entry. Swidget is the natural choice for electrical contractors that want to offer smart home products to their customers but want to differentiate from their low voltage counterparts.
With all of the choices available, home owners are cautious of being tied into a particular system. Sure Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz and Z-Wave are the protocols of choice right now but what happens to all of those smart devices when 5G or Wi-Fi 6 are available. Will home owners be stuck with a bunch of deprecated devices? Electrical contractors can capture the broadest customer base by offering a product that is not tied to any one system and because Swidget products are futureproof, they can offer a clear upgrade path to their customers.
How can a Distributor or Agent help electrical contractors enter the smart home market?
- An agent or distributor can help make the transition to smart home easier by keeping contractors up to date on the latest smart products and helping them navigate new install requirements.
- It is also a good idea to make interested customers aware of the training opportunities available from the manufacturers. Swidget will be offering a training module for electricians in the next few weeks. Please contact Justin Arghittu for details.
- With all of the choices that are available, it is best for new electricians to start simple: Make Your Home a Smart Home with Something as Simple as a Swidget Outlet or Light Switch.