Smart home's hierarchy of needs - PC Retail

Smart home's hierarchy of needs

How to become a smart home maker
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By Will Liu – UK country manager, TP-Link

By Will Liu – UK country manager, TP-Link

Transforming your home into a smart home is no longer an option that’s just available for tech-savvy early adopters. Improved safety and security, controlling your heating remotely or even brewing a coffee from bed are now just a tap away for almost everyone. But something that the tech-savvy do know is that before this becomes a reality, it is vital to get smart home infrastructure in place.

Many people, excited about the promise of a connected home, are buying smart products – such as a new mobile-controlled light bulb – only to get home and discover that their current setup will not support it. Think of the disappointment of a ‘batteries not included’ moment, multiplied 10 times over when a new bulb won’t light up.

The psychologist, Maslow, devised a hierarchy of needs for humanity – explaining how to ultimately achieve self-actualisation. But this goal could only be accomplished by working through the necessary stages at the lower levels of the pyramid. In just the same way, to unlock the incredible potential of the smart home, it is important to have some fundamentals in place so that any subsequent purchases work seamlessly, out of the box.

At the base level, your connection is vital. Do you have enough bandwidth to support all your smart devices and streaming services? If Netflix struggles, then it’s fair to assume that your Wi-Fi needs a boost. So first look at your ISP service, what speeds should you be getting and is your data capped?

Moving up the pyramid, your router or modem router is essential for creating a wired and wireless network to broadcast Wi-Fi around your home, and connect your devices to the internet.

Depending on the size and construction of your home or office, you might experience Wi-Fi dead zones, in which case, you need to consider ways of boosting your wireless signal to those hard to reach places like the conservatory or garden office.

TP-Link offers products such as range extenders and powerlines that extend your network. A range extender boosts the existing wireless signal so that it reaches further. Powerline adapters use a building’s electrical circuit to transmit data via electrical sockets so you don’t need to worry about thick walls blocking the wireless signal. Both of these technologies are plug and play and therefore low risk purchases that help to increase the average basket value when offered as an add on to large, high value items like smart TVs or games consoles. They also make sure that any smart devices like bulbs or plugs reach their full potential with a solid wireless connection.

An all in one alternative to the ISP provided router and a range extender or powerline option is a mesh wireless network. Using a series of nodes that automatically connect and triangulate to provide seamless wireless coverage customers can take advantage of a comprehensive solution that offers superior quality Wi-Fi plus the convenience of app driven set up and management. In the case of the TP-Link Deco series of mesh routers, customers also benefit from the addition of anti-virus and malware protection at router level therefore protecting all devices connected to the network including smart TVs and all the additional Wi-Fi connected smart devices.

With solid foundations in place, customers are able to build their smart home dream. Moving up through the different levels of the pyramid means that people minimise frustrations and resellers are able to support smart home purchases at every stage of the customer journey: not just process returns from frustrated buyers, disappointed their set-up is not suitable to support their smart home vision.

As Maslow knew well, welcoming support to get to the top stage of the pyramid is a smart move. By providing the products and advice to help people progress through the pyramid, no matter how impressive their existing set-up is, will not only help to increase basket value, it will also dramatically improve customer satisfaction and loyalty, creating satisfied smart home owners who are keen to experiment with automation.

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