Feb 18

Smart Home Tech Needs Open Technology Ecosystems

Posted by: Entrata | Category: Newsletters,Technology

Smart home ecosystemNew technologies bring new challenges, especially when it comes to brand new categories of hardware.

Smart home technology is no exception.

Smart thermostats, smart smoke detectors, smart locks, leak detection systems and many others often come with their own software that gives residents the ability to control the devices from their smartphones. But being required to log in to several disparate apps and web portals to control different smart devices is not only inefficient for the resident, it is an inefficiency that apartment owner/operators managing hundreds of homes can’t afford.

“I believe in an open and scalable ecosystem,” said Tommy Deserti, head of RNC and OEM for Nest. “Regardless of the brands you love, if you want longevity, an open ecosystem always wins. When you think about open and scalable, there are going to be software updates. If you’re buying into a software heavy innovation you’re going to be good.”

Smart = Open

By definition, smart home technology should be smart. It’s smart enough to learn your habits and change the temperature of your home automatically when you leave. It’s smart enough to shut off your furnace if it detects smoke or carbon monoxide in the house. And it’s smart enough to send you an alert if there’s a leak in a pipe.

Theoretically, it should be smart enough to work with any software product designed to manage it. If it isn’t smart enough to do that, it’s only because the manufacturer or software developer wants to create a closed system that they wrongly believe will maximize their revenue.

In fact, companies like Nest, Google and Amazon have proven that open systems result in significant revenue growth because they break down barriers to consumer adoption. Open is simply better.

“When you think about the customer journey, think about use cases and solving for real problems,” Deserti said. “If you put yourself in an open ecosystem, you’re going to create an amazing experience.”

Efficiency Goals

That’s because open is better for the consumer and the companies that enable the consumer, like apartment owner/operators. Consumers want to be able to control their smart home technologies from a single app, rather than having to open three different apps for their thermostat, smoke detector and lights.

Separate apps means they have to find each of those apps on their phones, which are already overloaded with a plethora of disorganized apps on multiple screens. One app means they can switch between smart home devices with just a few taps, saving them from having to search their phone for each app before they go to bed at night.

The challenge is even more complex for apartment owner/operators who could be managing hundreds of homes at the same time, especially when they’re in the midst of a lease up. Managing the thermostat alone in multiple apartment homes requires the ability to quickly jump from home to home or to change the temperature all at once for vacant units.

Not having that functionality alone could waste hours of a manager’s time, not to mention the utility costs associated with furnaces or air conditioning units that continue to operate during the effort.

The entire purpose of installing smart home technology is to create efficiency, not only in time of use, but also in cost of energy use. Hardware that can only work with specific software significantly limits the potential for efficiency in these systems, and will eventually limit revenue potential. Owner/operators prefer and sometimes only utilize technologies that will work with their property management software or other centralized software systems.

The opportunity cost of not allowing this is simply too high for hardware providers to afford. Open ecosystems simply offer a better experience that maximize the efficiency of your smart apartment homes, better meet consumer demand and maximize the revenue potential of the hardware makers themselves.