We knew accessibility and lower price points were hauling the smart home market out of the trough of disillusionment, but according to a new research report from Berg Insight, a whopping 30.3 million of homes in Europe and North America got ‘smart’ in 2016.
The latter of those – North America – is the world’s most advanced smart home market. It is predicted that it will boast 21.8 million of them by the end of the year – a 47% year-on-year growth.
This surge in smart home tech got us thinking about the traditional craftsman: the sparky, the DIY dude and the odd jobs man.
How does this impact them?
New skills (of the digital variety)
There are endless apps and sites you can call upon to get someone to put up a shelf, build a flat pack, re-wire the electrics and check your boiler.
But as more and more consumers take on the smart home, is Task Rabbit ready for the job?
I’m being a little facetious, of course. There are specialists that can advise you on your smart home, or super-easy starter kits you can grab off the shelf as you whiz around the one-way system of Ikea.
But what about in the long-term? When my girlfriend who’s got the taste for smart devices from her music system, Philips Hue and Amazon Dot asks for a connected fridge, will the local kitchen-fitter be ready to help her on that journey?
It’s an interesting question: how do you upskill the traditionally skilled as the worlds of home improvement and digital increasingly collide?
No more cash in hand
Smart home know-how might still be a bit of a core skills gap in 2017, but the cash economy is also under the spotlight.
Consumers want more than just Bob with the right tool belt, and more importantly they don’t want to have to withdraw £4,000 in cash to settle the bill at the end of the job.
Even the most traditional of trades are being touched by tech, and at some level it will need to be embraced to keep business booming, whether that’s fully engaging in the smart home portfolio, or just being able to offer customers digitally produced schematics and payment by card machine.
As growth of the European smart home market is forecasted to reach 80.6 million by 2021 (36% of all European households), according to the same Berg Insight report, we had all better buckle up and get smart whatever business we’re in.
The truth is, if you’re tech-smart, business is booming. I’ve just agreed a quote from a local carpenter to come and fit some alcove units for me. I’m assured by the online reviews he has the right skills to deliver.
Let’s just hope when the time comes my chippy has a card reader…
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