Siri, make it cozy!
The heating system listens to your word, the security camera reports visitors on the smartphone: The connected home is a big topic at IFA – but not yet for many consumers. How the providers want to convince you.
However, the early investments have only paid off to a limited extent. The smart home business contributes at least ten percent to sales. “But there is much room for improvement,” says company boss Markus Fest. For this, however, stronger support from IT companies such as Apple and Google is required . They are not only able to build and maintain a platform over the years, but also to make it known with their large marketing budgets.
So far, however, this has been lacking. The Google Nest system is technically advanced, but it takes a comparatively long time to develop, Fest observes. Apple left itself behind for a long time after announcing the Homekit platform. And you hardly hear anything from the Samsung subsidiary Smartthings.
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But something could happen now: In September, the iPhone manufacturer will be launching the new iOS 10 operating system, which contains its own app for the connected home. “We hope that Apple is now beating the drum and the demand increases,” says Fest. “But it will take a while until the topic reaches the mass market” – for example, until Google is ready.
In addition to powerful marketing, lower prices could also help spread the technology. Medion, for example, relies on this: The Lenovo subsidiary is launching three packages, the cheapest one costs around 200 euros. “When you think of the term smart home, you think of techies and people with money,” says Medion manager Sandro Fabris. “But we believe that the topic is suitable for the mass market.”
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The company offers various smart devices, such as a door sensor, a motion detector and a security camera, as well as a heating thermostat and a radio-controlled socket. The connection is established by a radio module, the control runs via an app. Medion markets these devices in three packages, called “Security”, “Comfort” and “Energy”.
Fabris does not want to comment on the prospects. But: “With our prices and our distribution channels, we can sell a relevant number of devices.” The Aldi partner initially sells the packages through its direct sales force. A short time later, the sets should also be available from other well-known e- and retailers.