TechUK and the Connected Home (IoT)

It was a large audience for today's TechUK IoT #connectedhome event. Credit: João Marques Lima on Twitter
It was a large audience for today’s TechUK IoT #connectedhome event.
Credit: João Marques Lima

This morning I went to an event at Tech UK called “The Connected Home: Empowering the consumer through the Internet of Things”. Here are my notes which I managed to quickly scribble down.

Jeremy Green from Machina Research was the chairman for the morning.

Energy Retail

  • In the energy retail market, smart meters increased conversion rate from 12 to 48% through more intelligent offers and improved proposition
  • Internet of Things (IoT) is about getting data to a user’s smartphone to view analytics and make a choice of what to do 20% of energy bills are ‘background use’ – which is background energy being used while sleeping, or not even knowing a device is on.
  • The topic was highly focussed on Smart Meters, mainly because of the panel at the event (smart meter suppliers). Unfortunately there was nothing about changing business models and it led to some government bashing.

Connected Health

  • loT helps people (patients and the vulnerable) stay at home, which is what most people in care
  • IoT currently helps diagnosed patients more than the But is that the typical Western cultural view of remedy vs prevention?
  • One group of care homes in Calderdale has rolled out IoT to 25 homes, and has reduced the hospital referral rate by 25%
  • Patients appreciate the constant monitoring-that someone is observing from a distance, removing the feeling of However, we need to be able to link other systems like smart energy meters to detect if someone has woken up. And it’s imperative to keep the user interface simple.

On Entertainment

The entertainment panel featured Virgin Media and Samsung among others:

  • Virgin Media are trying new technologies and creating some working prototypes
  • Virgin want loT devices to be easier to use. Consumers struggle to connect loT devices to the Virgin Wifi router and then call the virgin A recent customer called the Virgin helpdesk with a problem connecting their BBQ to the Wifi router. (Presumably it was one of these little devices: http://idevicesinc.com/igrill/)
  • Current IoT challenges:
    1. Unappealing devices to the mass market
    2. Insufficient standards connecting devices One of the challenges of multiple standards is the sheer number of devices and manufacturers that need to be brought together? This has never been done before.
    3. Data processing & data privacy laws provide further Who owns the data collected by devices? What if the device doesn’t have a user interface for a user to sign up with?
    4. Manufacturers and service providers are asking “What is the driver to produce IoT devices?” and “What will be the driver for consumers to upgrade devices?
  • But alas, no discussion on the changing business models or monetisation.

Bringing it all together

The last presentation was from Steve Moore at Dixons Carphone

  • There are a million combinations of mobile handset, network and tariff in the UK
  • Dixons Carphone have built a platform to go through these combinations instore, directly with customers, enabling them to choose an appropriate ARPU, conversions, and customer satisfaction has all improved. This has also been rolled out to Dixons stores and Dixons are now talking to retail banks.
  • The next step is for Dixons to provide full helpdesk support to home consumers with their KNOWHOW brand. Customers will be able to call the helpdesk with a problem, e.g. “I have a water leak” and Dixons will work with the customer’s insurer and even a local plumber. The proactive support is already working with insurance companies to consider water leak detectors (for example) on some appliances, to detect a leak before a £40,000 new-kitchen
  • KNOWHOW will be launching a ‘Help button’ for users to press, and then receive a call back with phone support.
  • Once at the user’s house, the service (e.g. plumber, electrician, etc.) can offer to scan the network for other connected The KNOWHOW app with then provide a dashboard showing the status with warranty, energy usage, manuals, etc. for all connected products.
  • Finally, a decent business model for the connected home!

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