“The whole concept of a ‘Smart Home’ needs a lot more education” – Phil Steele, Founder of nCube Speaker Q&A

Phil Steele, Founder of nCube, will be speaking at the Smart Summit London, being held on the 21st and 22nd of September at Olympia London.

nCube Home is a beautifully designed smart home hub and app giving a single point of control for all the smart home products such as heating, lighting, security, entertainment and things plugged in.

The intuitive app allows the user to manage everything in the home saving time and money on the way. nCube Home has a strong focus on getting a wide range of devices to work together.

nCube, who are also a sponsoring the event can be found on the expo floor at stand 25a. Phil Steele, who will be discussing how to select the optimum interface for smart home control, will be speaking on day 1 of the conference and took some time to complete 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?

From our research and our own survey conducted earlier this year, a majority of our respondents were attracted by the potential saving cost from their energy bills as well as their personal and family security. But rather than it being specific services, it will be the clarity of messaging and presentation of the benefits to the whole home.  If you walk into any high street store that sells the smart home products today everything is on shelves alongside network routers, laptops and mobile phones.  The consumer knows what a laptop is and will happily purchase off the shelf just by reading the specifications on the box but the whole concept of a ‘Smart Home’ needs a lot more education.


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

All sectors that provide some sort of service or product to homeowners are relevant as the Smart Home products and services enable a deeper understanding of homeowner behaviour.  The challenge is providing the homeowner with a whole solution rather than bombarding them with many conflicting models.


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

Home provider companies such as insurance, energy, security, telco, smart home providers etc. offer different services to respond to the diverse needs of the home owners. By joining in partnership, theses home providers will be able to offer one complete solution to the homeowner, which would be more attractive than several separated ones.


4.       How are new Smart Home products generating customer loyalty?

Some smart home companies are offering a central hub that is only compatible with their own smart devices. They are basically forcing the customer to buy everything from them and thus create somehow a fake loyalty. In our case, we are offering a hub that is compatible with over 100 devices from different brands because we believe that homeowners should have freedom to choose the brands they prefer for each device they might need, be it lighting, speakers, plug in, etc… We believe that we are creating a real customer loyalty by giving them this freedom of choice.


5.        How can security and privacy concerns be overcome?

Homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of connected home products such as the Nest thermostat or the Sonos music player. The number of products and capabilities is expanding rapidly but a significant issue exist:  Our homes are more private than our free email accounts and social network profiles so the assumed access to data is much more intrusive. nCube addresses this issue by being designed to give the homeowner ownership of their data through an opt-in process. The nCube app is built for privacy: All of the homeowner data learnt by the nCube hub remains within the home and is not signed over to anyone in order to use nCube.


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

It’s too early to tell but we hear of a lot of exciting changes ahead.


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

All markets have tiered pricing segments – whether that’s premium homes, premium mobile phones, premium home entertainment gear, etc.  The premium professional installed smart home market has been around for 20+ years whilst the mainstream market is still only emerging, but emerging rapidly.  As a rapidly growing and changing market that means everyone is watching and commenting on that.


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

We’re still researching this business model.  The answer depends on the value that a subscription provides, not just a way to pay small amounts instead of a large upfront purchase (how many consumers buy a laptop on subscription?).  New technology is often purchased to initially experiment with and then learn the deeper benefits than can be explained on a website or in videos before embedding it into daily routines.  We’re all familiar with mobile tariffs and broadband services so have few issues signing up to a subscription.  But with something new that needs more market education, signing up to a new subscription can be more of a barrier than paying a high one-off price.


9.       Is an OpenSource platform necessary for industry growth?

No not at all.


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

Smart Home products are being brought by early technology enthusiasts who quite often work in a technical industry or have a technical role and are high earners.  There are many different products around and differentiation is very high, not a commodity copycat market; and also prices within categories range a lot too.  Therefore, purchasing decisions are on the differentiation and the attractiveness of the features and the brand and so price is a secondary consideration and rarely the deciding factor at the moment.


To register your place and hear from our 180 leading speakers click here. Additionally, for further information on speaking opportunities, sponsorship and exhibition options at the UK’s leading Smart Summit, please visit www.iotsmartsummitlondon.com or contact the Smart Summit London Team on +44 (0) 330 335 3900 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


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.

Make sure you are present in London on the 21st and 22nd September for THE Smart event of 2016.