Appearing at Honeywell39s ldquoSmart Tech Smarter Expertsrdquo event were from left Stacey Higginbotham of IoT PodcastStacey on IOT Linden Tibbets Co Founder amp CEO IFTTT Ted Booth Senior Director of Honeywellrsquos User Experience Honeywell Andrew Thomas cofounder and Chief Revenue Officer SkyBell Rob Martens Futurist Director amp Vice President of Strategy amp Partnerships Schlage Brett Worthington Vice President of Global Business Development Samsung SmartThings Not pictured is Martin Heckmann Director

Appearing at Honeywell's “Smart Tech, Smarter Experts” event were, from left: Stacey Higginbotham of IoT Podcast/Stacey on IOT; Linden Tibbets, Co Founder & CEO, IFTTT; Ted Booth, Senior Director of Honeywell’s User Experience, Honeywell; Andrew Thomas, co-founder and Chief Revenue Officer, SkyBell; Rob Martens, Futurist Director & Vice President of Strategy & Partnerships, Schlage; Brett Worthington, Vice President of Global Business Development, Samsung SmartThings. Not pictured is Martin Heckmann, Director, Emerging Business, Chamberlain Group, Inc.

Time to Build Your 'Smart Home' Business

With a Smart Home expert on your staff — someone with genuine interest in growing this business — your company will have instant recognition as a connected home expert.

A recent event provided great insight into the many ‘smart home’ or ‘connected home’ opportunities available to HVAC contracting businesses. The event held during the last week in April — “Smart Tech, Smarter Experts” — was hosted by Honeywell, at Hotel on Rivington, a hip lower east side hotel. Editors from trade and consumer publications gathered in a cool penthouse loft overlooking the city, with an expansive view of Manhattan’s lower east side. (Side note: the loft view of hundreds of apartment and business rooftops stretching into the misty horizon — all outfitted with rooftop comfort units in varied condition — served as a great illustration of the depth and breadth of the HVAC industry.)

You must move beyond offering the thermostat as your only connected home product.

Consumer editors were there to gain some insight into the common jargon and many capabilities smart devices offer homeowners, and how to best evaluate them. Trade press editors were there to hear about new products and ways to reach and encourage contractors, and how to compete against the big box stores in the home security game.

The event featured a panel of experts from Honeywell, Samsung Smart Things, Chamberlain, Skybell, Schlage, and IFTTT (If This, Then That). The moderator was Stacey Higginbotham, a star analyst and writer about the Internet of Things and Smart Home/Smart Building technology. You can find her at staceyoniot.com and IoT Podcast.

Honeywell made a splash last year with the rollout of its T Series, including the Lyric T6 Pro WiFi thermostat, which gives contractors a unique product only they can sell. Not available in stores! (See bit.ly/HoneywellTSeries.)

•    Schlage displayed its Sense™ Smart Deadbolt, which enables homeowners to gain access via voice command or iPhone. It will also integrate with Siri, iPad or iTouch when in Bluetooth range. schlage.com
•    Chamberlain Group of course offers garage door openers, but now, they can be controlled via smart phones. With Chamberlain’s MyQ®,  a homeowner can monitor and control their garage door from anywhere in the world. (I think that’s “ferme la porte” in Paris.) — chamberlain.com
•    Samsung Smart Things can monitor, control and automate a home, including  lights, radio, the coffee maker and thermostat. It locks doors and activates security cameras. — smartthings.com
•    Skybell makes the Video Doorbell, which doubles as a security device, with video, live monitoring, motion sensor and video recording. — Skybell.com

As we’ve written before (see bit.ly/MaderonTech, or go to ContractingBusiness.com and enter “Nest” in the search box), the connected world is expanding. But realize that the big-box stores are more than ready and quite willing to take over the home security and connectivity business. They’re giving everyone a run for their money, including longtime security pioneers such as ADT.

It’s challenging enough that consumers buy and install their own thermostats, or ask you to install it. Now at these stores, they can find every new item related to home security and connectivity. HVAC systems too, of course. And have you heard about JC Penney’s new last-gasp HVAC program?

With a Smart Home expert on your staff — someone with genuine interest in growing this business, your company will have instant recognition as a connected home expert. Just be certain that he or she is fully up to speed, and tapped into product updates.

You must move beyond offering the thermostat as your only connected home product. 

Watch for more on this event in the June ContractingBusiness.com.

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