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Dealer Discussion: What impact has the smart tech sector had on your business?

As we see more and more smart home products enter the market, what impact are they having on tech retailers and resellers? Are customers going to them directly for new smart tech, or is the sector providing new opportunities for those in the business of setting up and repairing gear? IT channel community Tech For Techs asks its members.

JASON BASSETT, CORRILAN IT CONSULTANCY LTD

“We find that most clients approach us to setup and configure tech devices in their homes and businesses that they have already purchased elsewhere. Unfortunately, we have also found that when we have configured devices, such as a voice assistant, the client thinks that it can do more out of the box than it actually does. For example, setting up a standard Alexa for a client, they often think they can control their house lighting, kettle, stereo etc. without needing to purchase additional hardware or subscriptions – a failing on the marketing side of such tech devices it seems.”

RICHARD OVERFIELD, RL SUPPLIES LTD

“We have more customers coming to us concerned about smart tech than we do wanting to purchase items or have them configured. The main concern is with smart devices listening to conversations and tracking their usage and passing personal information to third parties. Privacy is the main concern with smart devices.”

CAROLINE HOWELL, PUTERTUTOR

“I offer smart tech set up as a service and have set up a fair few Alexa, Google Home and various pet cams etc. I‘m always asked my opinion, and I tell them all the same… not in my home! Shhhh, don’t tell them I recently got a Google Home Mini!”

SIMON PARKES, FZN SOLUTIONS

“I get asked but I stopped call-outs. Some of this Wi-Fi tech is a nightmare. One day it talks, next it refuses. I’ve found some tech that doesn’t like being switched off so it obtains a new IP then removes itself from existence. I’m not getting anyone wanting to network with their toaster or kettle yet. Most struggle with their phones!”

PHILIP GRIFFITHS, TECH FOR TECHS

“Most independent stores struggle with selling smart home products, possibly due to main distributors not stocking these items. It’s not often we get people wanting smart products setting up, as in most cases they are easy to do. Normally, all the consumer needs to do is plug the device in and scan the QR code with a phone. Consumers also seem a bit wary about the products with a lot of press coverage about how the devices are used to gather personal information. We have also found consumers wary of the products because they don’t understand them, or have bought one product in the past expecting it to be able to take over the whole house and not realising they need other devices to connect to all the other items they want to control. On top of all that, there are also security concerns where devices are not getting updated to fix flaws that hackers and criminals can exploit.”

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