Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Success Stories in the Connected Home

Summary information from Day 2: CONNECTIONS™ May 2007, hosted in Santa Clara, CA

Are we there yet? We've been talking about the connected home for more than two decades. It's evident from our research that there are few connected homes, but the landscape is changing. Widespread use broadband Internet access, familiarity with digital technologies, and technology market movers looking for the NEXT "next big thing" all add up to a market on the move. This panel will discuss what's working, why, and when the market will catch up with the technology.

Ken Fairbanks, VP Sales & Business Development, SmartLabs, Inc.
Doug Hartman, VP Global Sales, Corinex Communications Corp.
Kumu Puri, Global Managing Director, Consumer Electronics, Accenture
Robert Rodenbucher, Business Development Director, AwoX
Eric Smith, Chief Technical Officer, Control4
Moderator: Bill Ablondi, Director, Channel Research, Parks Associates

Specific Questions to Address:
  • Which vendors have been successful in building sales of connected systems?
  • Which manufacturers are the market movers that can spur adoption of control systems to the next level — GE, Honeywell, Cooper Electric, SquareD (Schneider), Leviton, Intel, Cisco, Microsoft?
  • Have multiroom, distributed entertainment systems stimulated adoption of other control and management systems?
  • What surprises have occurred as new solutions have made their way to market? What applications for the original solution were not considered?
  • Where was success in the last 12 months, and where will new opportunities be in the next year?
  • Most people are unaware of current capabilities of low-cost control systems. What are the most effective ways to build awareness?
  • Luxury homes typically have a wide array of control and management systems installed. What lessons, if any, have been learned in the high-end market that translate into broader markets?
  • Will higher energy costs drive adoption of home management systems?

This session began with a review of Accenture's research to understand what factors drive high performance in business. Three building blocks were discussed: 1) Market Focus and Position – deciding where and how to compete, 2) Distinctive Capabilities – doing business in a way that creates value, and 3) Performance Anatomy – developing a "winning mindset.” Ken Fairbanks explained how SmartLabs is organized into three groups to focus on product development, online sales, and technology licensing. Each group has a clear mission, yet all three work together synergistically. Eric Smith pointed to the seasoned executives in Control4 that have guided it to become one of the most popular control suites among electronic systems contractors.

The discussion moved to the importance of reliable technology as a key to success in these early stages of the connected home market. Doug Hartman pointed out how Best Buy chose its power line technology for the ConnectLife.Home package introduced at 2007 CES. Robert Rodenbucher explained that his company's modular architecture and internationalized user interface are the keys to its success in developing software and electronic products for license to consumer electronics manufacturers.

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