Much has been said about the opportunities for fabricators and installers brought about by smartware. After all, it is estimated that this market will be worth £300 billion worldwide by 2020. But just what do these opportunities look like, and what should fabricators and installers be looking out for from smartware suppliers? Tania Tams, ERA’s head of marketing, sheds some light on the matter.
Over the past few years, technology has changed the way people live, with the idea of smart heating, lighting and entertainment systems now an everyday reality for many. Home security is also undergoing a tech transformation.
Homeowners are increasingly aware of how technology can further enhance security and are therefore looking to mix up traditional security methods with smart ones. An example of this would be to look at local social networking groups, with communities sharing videos of potential intruders from outdoor cameras or video doorbells.
Fabricators and installers would be well advised to encourage customers to invest in smart security, including alarms, cameras, video doorbells and smart locks since this process of up-selling affords enhanced profit opportunities while giving customers peace of mind. The ERA doorbell is a wired video doorbell, for example, which makes it reliable and easy longer term as there is no maintenance or battery changes required. When changing a door and frame, it is a perfect time to wire up a new doorbell as the wiring is exposed.
Choosing a reputable brand that understands security is important. With smartware, the important components are hidden away and wouldn’t mean much to us, so it is difficult, if not impossible, to look at a piece of smartware and ascertain its quality and reliability. When choosing a supplier, fabricators and installers need to look at their supplier’s reputation, and ask themselves some key questions: do they provide quality products?; do they have a strong supply network?; can they offer me help and advice if required?; is there a good after-care service for the homeowner?
Choosing a stable company such as ERA with a solid trading history is important so you can have confidence your customer is supported for the longer term with app development and replacement parts.
For those who have until now only offered traditional products, and for whom working with smart solutions feels a little daunting, ERA’s in-house panel of experts offers help and advice. It has been expanded with the implementation of a dedicated helpdesk specifically for its portfolio of smart products. The team is on hand to answer queries and provide peace of mind for fabricators and installers as they familiarise themselves with smartware, also giving them a clear point of contact to refer their customers to for aftercare if they have any questions post-fitting.
ERA also offers installers the chance to sign up to smartware training, held every month, were installers can get four hours of hands-on training so they can install from start to finish with confidence.
ERA’s smartware includes the HomeGuard Pro alarm, a high specification cloud-based alert and monitoring alarm system, the first of its kind to combine security with smart living. Operated by a smart phone app, HomeGuard Pro offers real time alerts through Wi-Fi and allows the alarm to be armed or disarmed from anywhere. With access within the app to internal cameras, a homeowner can have full confidence that if there was an intruder, the HomeGuard sensors will trigger the alarm that sounds a 110db siren outside, the 80db hub inside, as well as alerting their network of contacts, all of which are alerted simultaneously in the event of an intrusion.
One of the benefits for homeowners of HomeGuard Pro that fabricators and installers can communicate to their customers is that being cloud-based, the system is a good money-saving option. This is because as new features become available, the hub can simply be upgraded via the cloud. With the sector developing rapidly this means this affordable product can move with the times.
Likewise, ERA’s Wi-Fi video doorbell, DoorCam, allows homeowners to view all callers and talk to them in real time, whether they’re home or not. With ease of operation in mind, once DoorCam is wired in, the householder can simply plug in the Wi-Fi chime that comes as standard, connecting up to four more chimes in the home, all as part of the package. This means a chime will sound in the house, with adjustable sound, volume and light function, eliminating the need to carry a smart phone around. DoorCam allows homeowners to collect video clips via its history log, thanks to adjustable motion detection.
The wiring part of the DoorCam is potentially a concern for installers, who don’t see wiring as their thing. It is worth noting that if your customer doesn’t have existing doorbell wiring, the DoorCam can be purchased with a power adaptor and 5m of cable so with a simple hole through the doorframe, it can be plugged in easily in the hallway.
ERA is soon to be adding to their smart product line with a new security system. ERA investment in research and development of smart security reinforces our continued commitment to advancing on security products, just like it has always done. ERA has never been content with being standard, and likes to push the boundaries on product lines; smart security is no different.
With many homeowners not confident in installing smart technology themselves, it falls on the professionals to help, which provides a great new business opportunity for the trade.
ERA is helping installers to capitalise on the need for an installer, and has recently launched the ERA installer scheme. Homeowners can search for an ERA installer in their local area and be connected via the system to the installer. There are no fees for the installer to join the scheme. This is about creating a handshake between the homeowner and the installer.
If our installer network is prepared to invest in us and fit our products, we are prepared to invest in them. As part of the ERA installer network, ERA supplies van decals and operates a full feedback system that the installer can go on to earn branded uniform.
The installers have full access to their own profile to say what they want and can include images and their company logo. If they have done smartware training, they also have that icon attached to their profile. We offer marketing support such as own-branded flyers to hand out to customers, as well as website pages that can be dropped into their own website to promote the smartware.
As window and door installers add to their portfolio and increase their service offering and overall value to their customer, ERA wants to support by partnering from beginning to end to ensure installers feel knowledgeable and confident all the way through.