‘The smart home will only start to mean something to the mass market when there is seamless interoperability between devices’ – Kam Kothia, CEO, time2

Kam Kothia, CEO at time2 will be speaking at the Smart Summit London being held on the 21st and 22nd of September at the Olympia Conference Centre in London.

time2 was founded in 2011 by a small team selling just just one tablet and a case, they expanded their product range and five years later time2 supply a wide range of connected devices for the modern day smart home. From home security cameras to affordable quality tablets, their customers go beyond the UK, to France Germany, Italy, Spain and the USA.

Kam, who will be discussing who will control the smart home on the 21st of September at the Smart Home Summit, took some time to answer our Speaker Q&A:

1. Which service is most likely to trigger mass market smart home take-up – security, entertainment, heating, health or something else?

Our own experience in the recent past suggests that home security is the most likely trigger.  The sales of our security cameras far outweighs the sales of all other time2 smart devices combined.  Having said this, although security will be one of the primary drivers of smart home adoption, I don’t believe that it is sufficient in itself to trigger mass market uptake.  My personal opinion is that it will be one of the more game changing innovations such as Alexa (Amazon’s voice powered personal assistant) – something that offers convenience and obvious benefits to consumers. 

In this instance, in addition to the information, communication and entertainment features Alexa offers, through an interface like Amazon Echo, it also provides the capability of controlling your smart home through verbal instructions, i.e. no need to look for a remote control or pull out your mobile smartphone from your pocket to switch a light on … very powerful!

But, the smart home will only start to mean something to the mass market when there is seamless interoperability between devices, easy and fool-proof setup, wide availability, and a price point where the benefits outweigh the costs.

2. Where does potential lie for new industries to become involved in the Smart Home market?

I believe there is huge potential for existing home ‘utility’ service providers – I use the term utility loosely to include broadband, TV and entertainment services.  They could provide value added services bundled with a selection of hardware devices on a cost-effective subscription basis to their existing customer base. 

3. How are partnerships contributing to growth in the Smart Home market?

Many partnerships are evolving, and essential if we are to see the mass market take up we are all looking for.

4. How can security and privacy concerns be overcome?

Our own research shows that these concerns cannot be ignored.  It is not helped by images of Mark Zuckerberg taping up his Macbook camera for security reasons!  The only real way is to reassure customers through education, and ensuring that the industry itself takes the issue seriously.  Every security scare in the national tabloids takes the industry back a few steps.

5. Which retailers are achieving most success in Smart Home sales and why?

It seems that the online retailers such as Amazon are leading the way – this may be because the likes of Dropcam (now Nest) and Amazon itself with their Echo personal assistant are initially only available online.

6. Is there too much focus on mass market appeal or is there still a place for high-end products?

There is still a place for high-end products for high-end consumers.  But mass market is where the industry needs to be for long term sustainability.

7. How successful will subscription-based models be for the Smart Home market?

In my view this is the way forward.  This model transformed the mobile phone industry and has the potential to do the same in this market. 

8. Is an OpenSource platform necessary for industry growth?

Not necessary, but will be required if a standard doesn’t emerge soon that leading manufacturers can put their weight behind.

9. How important is cost in the purchase decision and how are retailers and product manufacturers responding to this?

Cost, or more importantly ‘value’ is critical for the mass market – particular whilst the market may not fully appreciate the key benefits of the Smart Home.  Some retailers are setting up demonstrators which certainly help create awareness, but it will take time.  And I don’t think the full benefits will be realised until there is seamless operability between devices from different manufacturers, and my grandmother is able to set up the devices!

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About Smart Summit London

Smart Summit is a 2 day conference and exhibition covering the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem and its impact on the digital society.

With 3 in-depth event tracks and over 180 leading speakers, no other IoT event covers the Smart Home, Smart Cities and Industrial Internet of Things in as much detail.

Co-located with a joint networking exhibition, each track (summit) features over 20 unique and topical sessions – gain a unique insight from industry heavyweights and hear case study examples from major contributors.

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