The smart choice

Glass Times editor, Luke Wood, talks to Marc Henson, head of marketing and technology, at Kubu Smart about the growing success of the smart security brand, and new products in the pipeline.

Luke Wood (LW): We’re seeing more and more of the UK’s most prominent fabricators adopting Kubu – what is the secret to this success?

Marc Henson (MC): Working hard, actively listening to feedback, and continuously moving forward.

The founding principles of Kubu were based on consumer research. Every industry around us was making great strides towards smart, yet the fenestration industry was pretty stagnant. There had to be something wrong, so we decided to ask the consumer.

The feedback was overwhelming. Product failures, lack of aesthetic design, high cost and focus on door only systems were all major sticking points, so it made sense to us that developing yet another smart lock style product probably wasn’t the way forward.

The product you see today has been created as a direct result of that feedback, and seems to be hitting the mark with the consumer!

Having a great idea for a product and actually releasing it are two completely different things too. We have a great team of some incredibly talented individuals, but what makes things special is how well we work together.

All that aside, the true secret to Kubu’s success not only lies in our unique approach to smart security, but its combination with the tangible benefits we offer to fabricators and installers. Kubu’s innovative smart sensors are seamlessly integrated into doors and windows, enhancing security without compromising aesthetics. This ease of integration is a significant factor in our widespread adoption, as it requires no additional work at the point of installation​​​​.

LW: And do you think the fact that fabricators are adopting Kubu into their manufacturing processes is a reflection of growing consumer demand for smart enabled products?

MC: Absolutely. The growing adoption of Kubu by fabricators is certainly a reflection of the increasing consumer demand for smart-enabled products in general. Today’s homeowners are looking for ways to enhance their home security with the convenience and peace of mind that smart technology provides​​​​.

It’s been a slow burner (once bitten, twice shy and all that…), but consumers are slowly gaining trust in our smart options for doors and windows, so it’s becoming hard for fabricators and installers to ignore.

Consumers want to be sure that their homes are secure at all times, but don’t necessarily want to hand over the keys to a bit of tech. Kubu’s ability to provide real-time notifications and status updates on the security of doors and windows meets this need perfectly.

What’s really great is the different levels that Kubu can be integrated. Kubu is not like other smart options where it’s either fitted or it’s not. Products can be produced that are ready to ‘Work with Kubu’ sensors, or the sensors can be fitted as standard – giving fabricators, installers, and the homeowner ultimate choice.

LW: Or is it still ‘early days’ for the smart security sector?

MH: While the smart security sector is still evolving, it has certainly moved beyond the early days. The rapid advancements in technology and increasing consumer awareness and demand have propelled the sector forward. Kubu has now been operational in consumer homes for over three years, providing a stable and trusted platform​​ and brand.

We have also seen significant growth in the number of fabricators and installers adopting our technology, indicating a mature and expanding market​​. The introduction of innovative products, such as our floating window sensor and retrofit solutions, continues to drive the market forward, suggesting that while there is still room for growth and innovation, the smart security sector is starting to become quite well-established and poised for further expansion​​.

LW: How reliant are you on installers upselling Kubu to their homeowner customers?

MH: Installers play a crucial role in upselling Kubu to homeowners, but we have designed our business model to minimise reliance on this alone.

The Kubu Pro Installer Scheme provides extensive training and marketing support to help installers effectively communicate the benefits of Kubu to their customers​​​​, and our products are designed to be an easy upsell. But… as fenestration travels along this journey, it’s really important to realise that not everybody feels as comfortable as others, so providing multiple routes to market has been essential.

This ease of installation and the clear benefits of smart security make it a straightforward decision for homeowners, reducing the pressure on installers to upsell.

LW: Have you marketed Kubu as a brand to consumers and how successful has this been?

MH: Yes, but depending on where you live, you may or may not have seen it!

We’re not a huge company like Ring, so have had to be creative with our marketing spend. With this in mind, we have run highly targeted campaigns – in conjunction with some of our largest installers – to raise awareness of the brand and product, in the areas that there is supply.

The results have been pretty impressive too. We have recently been on TV in the North West, which resulted in a 15% increase in leads, 10% increase in conversion rates, and a whopping 39% increase in average order value for those generated leads.

As we grow, we are only looking to invest more and more into consumer brand awareness, so watch this space!

LW: Can you tell us more about any new product developments in the pipeline?

MH: We are continually innovating to stay ahead in the smart security market. With our most recent launch (the Kubu floating window sensor) having won New Product of the Year at last year’s G Awards, there’s certainly big boots to fill!

We’re confident that our upcoming ‘Kubu Anywhere’ sensor, will fill those boots!

This incredible little sensor can be fitted to any door or window, both concealed and surface mounted, and work with Kubu hardware specifically, or fitted to existing doors and windows to expand the functionality of existing setups and provide additional security across the home​​.

What’s even better is that the sensor can even work without the home hub – meaning the cost of entry to the market is now around £25 to the consumer – rather than the £150+ of other solutions.

The launch of Kubu Anywhere coincides with the launch of some incredible new Works with Kubu hardware from both Avantis and VBH too. This means that Kubu can very soon be fitted to tilt and turns, patio sliders, bi-folds and most importantly auto-fire doors.

We’ve got fabricators poised to start offering ‘Smart as Standard’ doors (with the sensors built in by the fabricator) over the coming months – which will see exponential growth in the awareness of Kubu and also the number of new customers every month.

If that’s not enough, we are also working on lots of new handy features on the app, further integrations with major smart home platforms to enhance the connected home experience for our users, and an innovative keyless entry solution.

Exciting times!