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14 things you need to know from the Smart Home Summit - PC Retail

14 things you need to know from the Smart Home Summit

What we learnt about the growing sector from yesterday's event in London
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PCR visited the Smart Home Summit in London – here are our top 14 news highlights from the event.

1. John Lewis invests in IoT start-up

John Lewis announced the winner of its 2015 JLAB technology business accelerator programme.

Peeple – the ‘smart peephole’ company (no, not this dubious app of the same name) – received £100,000 in funding and a contract to sell the product in John Lewis stores.

The Internet of Things (IoT) hardware and software startup has created Peeple – a smart camera that attaches to existing peepholes in front doors. By connecting it to a home Wi-Fi network, it can identify, inform, screen and alert users to anyone who arrives at or opens their front door.

Paul Coby, IT Director at John Lewis, said: “We see great opportunities for developing this product into a 'must have' app and home security device. All five contestants are winners this year, and in addition to awarding Peeple the £100k prize we are investing in or supporting all five of them.”

2. Deutsche Telekom explores much the connected home market will grow

If you’re an IT retailer, vendor or distie looking at the connected home market and you want to know how it’s going to shape up in the coming years, Deutsche Telekom’s new in-depth market analysis report is well worth a read.

The ‘How to create growth from the connected home’ report states that “the Internet of Things (IoT) will bring about the second digital revolution” (with the internet being the first), and that the smart home market could be worth over €15.46 billion annually by 2019, with 50 million Western European homes having installed IoT technology. You can read the full report here.

3. Philips shows off Hue wireless smart lights

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Philips had a colourful stand at the expo, where it showed off its Hue lighting strips, Hue Go wireless light units and Hue Tap wireless switches, which are powered by kinetic energy.

Attendees could use an app to change the brightness level of each of the lights on show, which are designed to be used in homes and kitchens.

The Hue Go wireless lights were pretty impressive, with the user able to cycle through different colours.

4. Add-on board turns Raspberry Pi into a smart home controller

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Sentec presented its £19.99 Raspberry Pi add-on board at the show, which targets hobbyists and can talk to smart plugs, radiators, light switches and more. 

Sentec was also sharing a stand with its partner Energenie, which produces the £59.99 Mi Home smart home gateway (sold direct and through Amazon, Argos and Screwfix, with an exclusive partnership with Harvey Norman in Ireland). This lets homeowners use an app to control their smart devices.

Both devices use Open Things, so they can easily pair with other Open Things devices.

5. Cozify seeks UK retail partners

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Finish company Cozify was showing off its smart home hub featuring the same name. Homeowners can use the device to control and program different connected devices around the home, for example timing lights to switch on at a certain time each day, or activating the door sensor when they leave the house. It has an open interface so can talk to many different products made by various manufacturers.

The €249 product is on sale through the firm’s webstore, however Cozify’s CEO and co-founder Kimmo Ruotoistenmäki told PCR he is seeking UK retailers and is open to exclusivity deals.

6. Develco on the hunt for more UK partners

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This firm is a B2B-only platform provider which was promoting its Linux-powered open platform smart home hub on its stand. 

The device can be used to wirelessly check the gas metre, energy consumption and so on. Develco also has several other products used for home automation such as window and door sensors. 

The firm's customers are predominantly software houses who build apps for smart home manufacturers, now it's on the hunt for more UK partners such as telecomms firms. 

7. Warmup smart thermostat targets tech retailers

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Warmup was pushing its smart thermostat at the show. 

The firm started off 24 years ago, focusing on underfloor heating, before launching a thermostat to control the heating. 

It previously launched the 3iE smart thermostat and now has the latest version - the 4iE - which can monitor people through geo locationing and adjust the temperature accordingly. 

Warmup says the device generates efficiency usage savings of 25 per cent and can save up to £378 on energy bills per year. 

8. Cloud service powers smart pet tech

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Kii is a cloud backend for devices and mobile apps. The firm provides data storage and a scalable infrastructure for smart home device vendors. It has partnered with Toshiba Health, Fine I and BeLuvv, with the latter producing smart pet collars. Toshiba health.

Kii has a strong presence in Asia but now it’s looking to partner with other product vendors and increase its presence in the UK.

9. D-Link shows off full smart home range

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Security and networking vendor D-Link was at the event, showcasing its CCTV cameras and smart home sensors.

A spokesperson told PCR that its devices can be cross-linked across different homes, and highlighted the new water sensors and WiFi sensors.

10. HomeServe to launch retail web store this year

HomeServe says it’s the UK's number one multi-brand installer of smart thermostats, providing smart home installation services on behalf of vendors.

A spokesperson told PCR it is opening its first retail web store by the end of this year, and is interested in talking to other retailers to provide its service on behalf of them.

HomeServe works with Nest, Cosy and others, and has 5.2 million policy holders in the UK.

11. Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung will dominate the market unless we all work together

Jon Carter, Deutsche Telekom’s UK head of business development, told PCR that Europe must come together to fight the big tech giants. 

"The danger of this event is that it's a wake," he said. "Everyone here is focused too much on competing with each other - and aren't focusing on the customer.”

Read more from Jon Carter here.

12. What retailers can do to help grow the connected home market

Execs from Dixons Carphone, John Lewis, Euronics and B&Q gathered to discuss what customers want from the smart home.

You can read about the points they made during the panel session here.

13. Which smart home products do consumers like the most?

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Outside of the event, and as displayed in the graph above, Smart Light Bulbs and Security Kits and Hubs lead in terms of consumer delight, while Security Cameras produce the most disappointment, according to a new report from Argus Insights.

The analyst says that customer satisfaction for smart home products is ‘only slowly rising’. You can read the full report here.

14. Other businesses of note

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  • Geo was presenting its Cosy smart hub and smart thermostat (pictured above) at the show. The company sells direct, through Amazon and other channels. The cosy launched eight months ago and is priced at £179.95.
  • Prescience provides the tech that smart home vendors and service providers use in their products, from door sensors to alarms, water detectors, cameras and so on, and is in talks with all the major energy suppliers
  • Aurora Lighting’s new Gooee software powers smart home products. The company sells wholesale to electrical contractors and has some products on Amazon
  • Telegesis provides radio chip components for vendors and can help write firmware for connected home products. It also makes supporting products like range extenders and gateways

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