After several years of head-spinning innovation and much pondering, retailers and manufacturers are starting to make sense of the smart home. Much of it revolves around monetizing the business through a recurring revenue model and the advent of voice control — most notably through Amazon’s Alexa artificial intelligence technology — as a common and consumer-friendly IoT platform.
That smart-home is on the minds of merchants is an understatement, as the subject consumed much of TWICE’s Executive Retail Roundtable this year. In this last of a series of panel excerpts, top industry retailers, distributors, buying group execs (and one leading industry analyst) tackle the connected-home category.
On the need for a new revenue model
Dave Workman, ProSource: The biggest thing, and one of our key initiatives this year, is to basically bring a recurring revenue model into this product.
TWICE: Will this be with a third-party partner?
Workman: This is a combination of everything. The key for the customer, whether it’s a very simple system or an elaborate system is there are a lot of diagnostics that can go on remotely. You can’t afford to roll a truck for somebody to put in a $500 Dropcam or repair a Nest thermostat if something goes wrong, and so there are services obviously, and we are working to try to combine it.
The industry will resemble the security industry where you have a low frontend ticket and ideally you get some sort of recurring revenue piece that comes into the model that allows the system to continue to operate. The key is how you develop the quality of the service that goes around that. It can’t just be in the event of a crisis we’ll be here. You have to bring value that customers see.
It has to be rebooted, and there are so many things that people don’t realize, like you have to unplug your cable box occasionally because it builds up resistive qualities, and all of that stuff that people just don’t realize. Those things can all be automated if done correctly. The companies are all working on it, and then there are call center tech supports like PlumChoice and some of the other names that you know. We are pretty excited, and we’re getting close to the finish line on the project.
The TWICE Executive Retail Roundtable. Standing from left: Alan Wolf, TWICE; Neal Martinelli, HSN; Mary Campbell, D&H Distributing; Dave Workman, ProSource; Fred Towns, New Age Electronics; Dene Rogers, RadioShack. Seated from left: Tom Hickman, Nationwide; Laura Orvidas, Amazon; Ryan Ciovacco, Sears Holdings; Steve Baker, The NPD Group [Read more…]