IP&TV News: Hi Gregory. We hear you’re going to be doing a keynote at this year’s Smart Home World. What are you going to be discussing there?
Gregory Grin: I want to share some insights and lessons taken from the ongoing preparations for the launch of a Swisscom smart home and home security solution for the mass market in Switzerland. It will be launched before the end of the first part of this year.
This will be for the residential market, and I want to talk about really practical things, like how we plan to make it a mass market product, given the fact that it’s still a very geeky area.
Tell us a bit more about this package…
First of all it’s really focussed on security as a starting point. But it’s a do-it-yourself, self-monitoring service with some home automation capabilities: so there’s the possibility of adjusting humidity, light, this kind of thing.
We are also going to include some value added services in partnership with a security company. So if I am on holiday and I receive an alert telling me someone has opened my door, then I can press a button and the security company will go there and stay in front of my door until somebody comes to repair it. That’s an additional service. Even if I do the self-monitoring of my house, when I go on holiday I don’t want to be bothered by the alerts and I don’t want to watch the camera.
And what’s the learning process been like?
For me the big lesson is, take the device, take the solution, put it in the hand of people and observe them. There are a lot of devices on the market – and they are nice and they are sexy, but to make them start you have to press three or four buttons on the device and a lot of buttons on your box.
If you just pick and choose from the available solutions, integrate them, make them a good price and try and sell them it won’t work. There is of course the affordability barrier but there is also a usability barrier.
Beyond security – where do you expect the smart home focus to fall next?
First of all, I think security is a kind of Trojan Horse. I don’t know about other countries, but in Switzerland people are really worried about it. If you go to them and ask them about smart home, their first use case is security. But when you give them the solution, they use it for security for the first three to four months, and then later they switch more to lifestyle things, such as controlling their lights, heat and humidity. People start to do these kind of things as a step two.
Thanks Gregory. Finally, we know you’ll be at Smart Home World this year. What are you most looking forward to there?
What I’m looking forward to do at this year’s Smart Home World is the chance to collect market insights, and to exchange ideas and experiences with other participants. I’m looking forward to discussing really practical things — commercial ideas that can make the business more accessible to non-techies.