Dan Bieny, Commercial Manager for Smart Tech and Consumer Networking at Exertis

IoT – how smart devices are making lives more convenient

Dan Bieny, Commercial Manager for Smart Tech and Consumer Networking at Exertis explains how smart devices are enabling a more informed day-to-day way of fiving from wearables and health monitoring devices to smart plugs and heating controls.

IoT is an ever-growing marketplace, with an increasing number of products coming to the market that provide smart features – in fact, the market is on the rise to the extent it’s been predicted there will be 22 billion connected devices by 2025.

Exertis is the largest distributor for smart technology, and our market knowledge in this space is second-to-none in the UK. Our experts are focused on our smart portfolio and are highly knowledgeable about the devices available, the benefits of each, and the best set-up to create the smart responses desired by each individual consumer.

Our portfolio is wide ranging and we’re the only distributor to offer solutions from both Google and Amazon. Exertis is also the exclusive distributor of the Hive range of products.

IoT devices are often wearable, however, what we’ve recently seen in the marketplace is a rise in customers looking to take control of the prices of their rising energy bills, and therefore utilising smart home devices to feel a sense of control over their use and spend.

Smart Heating
Products in the Smart Heating market include Hive, Tado, and Google Nest. Each brand provides a different way of offering the consumer and small business owner a more intelligent way of managing their energy consumption. The Google Nest learning thermostat allows the consumer to benefit from a smart thermostat, which learns when you’re in the house, reserving energy usage for when the home is occupied. Whereas both Hive and Tado, in addition to having smart thermostats, also offer additional battery powered TRV smart radiator valves, which enables individual radiators to talk to the master unit – reducing heating in the rooms, which are not being used.

Modern day requirements of customers’ lives, such as working from home and agility being of paramount importance, make this a useful tool for consumers. What’s great about these smart TRV valves is they don’t require professional installation, so are a particularly popular with consumers.

Smart Surveillance
Another recent increase in popularity is the idea of smart surveillance and security for both homes and properties. Vendors such as Swann, Ring, Arlo, Yale and Eufy have ensured that smart features can be adopted for these purposes with ease of installation and use. There’s gradually been a migration away from professionally installed CCTV, which needs to be maintained and can sometimes be more costly than a smart camera designed for surveillance.

Flexibility can now be guaranteed with the development of smart features for security purposes – for example, interactions can be exchanged with someone who might be standing at a consumer’s front door, no matter where the homeowner is located in the world. Both wired and battery-powered smart units can also provide different angle options rather than static images of the outside of an office building, or the front door of a house – for example, camera angles can be widened to view a parcel left on a doorstep, rather than only being able to see head-height when a visitor arrives.

Floodlights can also be smart connected, thanks to the capacity for linking them to smart alarm systems. Acting as a deterrent and having the convenience of not needing a third party to install or manage the systems makes the latest floodlights attractive to consumers. Parameters for movement can also be set by the customer – so motion-detection will not trigger the alarm if activated by animals, trees moving in the wind, or other natural objects.

Smart lighting
Exertis’s full portfolio of smart lighting, via Philips Hue, TP Link and Innr, offers enthusiasts lighting solutions to brighten any environment. LED bulbs are a powerful use case to any smart home due to their low energy consumption, and with working from home continuing to be prevalent, different lighting set-ups as well as an array of changing tones can be provided, which may be required for video calls, presentations and so on.

We have recently experienced competitive erosion on lower-end products, making them more attractive to different audiences; but for consumers who wish to connect smart lighting to other smart devices, these can be bolted on to alarm systems to flash red when motion is detected for example, or lights can be set up to pulse in sync with video gaming to make the experience more immersive.

Bespoke palates of colours have also been popular during lockdowns for home entertainment, as well as smart lighting migrating into outdoor products – simple white-yellow garden path lights are a thing of the past.

Smart plugs
Smart tech as a category has always been evolutionary. We’ll continue to see consumer behaviour focusing on what’s important during the current cost of living crisis – and smart plugs have a role to play. I hear how parents are listening to their children on the concerns of the global warming and how energy consumption is an important factor. Smart Plugs are a great way to educate inquisitive children – and adults – on how much energy is being consumed by individual devices. This provides a more calculated response: drinking less hot drinks, perhaps, or spending less time on gaming, or the impact of a teenage son setting up an energy-hungry crypto mine without parents’ knowledge.

Smart Wi-Fi
The trend with consumer Wi-Fi requirements is growing – devices in homes are increasing in number, and the devices themselves underpin the function of the smart home. The growing trend on Wi-Fi Mesh has hugely evolved since more people started working from home. Applications such as video streaming services and smart home have been fairly forgiving of bad Wi-Fi, however we all know that video conferencing on applications such as MS Teams and Google Meet require a reliable network.

Let’s not overlook the enhanced security features that come with these products as standard, nor the ability to upgrade. Antivirus and hacking software coming free with your PC or laptop is outdated. I believe more of these will be factored into business policy in future. Exertis has the most extensive range of Wi-Fi Mesh solutions from market leaders TP-Link, NETGEAR, Devolo, ASUS and Linksys.

IoT is now occupying a more diverse sales channel – traditional retailers are shrinking, and consumers are sourcing products from other channels such as trade, grocery stores, mobile, service providers, B2B and DIY outlets. Broader trends indicate that consumers are even purchasing via social media, and we expect smart devices to continue to grow in routes to market outside traditional retail as this trend takes off.

Exertis’ portfolio and knowledge is not only comprehensive: we also onboard only the most trusted brands to ensure responsible and compliant products for our customers.

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