Smart technology: is your business future-proofed?

Digital and innovation

23 March 2016

Many tradesmen already rely heavily on technology in multiple areas of their work – from setting up a Facebook page to stay connected with customers to using a tablet to download technical instructions while on a job.

But as consumers become more and more hungry for the latest gadgets, from smart locks to iKettles, tradesmen will need to update their own technical know-how to future-proof their businesses. So how ready are you for the smart technology revolution?

The rise of the smart home

No longer limited to the realm of James Bond villains, smart home technology now allows ordinary consumers to secure, monitor and control their homes using nothing more than a smartphone.

Consumer research conducted by tech manufacturer Honeywell in 2014 found that almost half (47%) of respondents wanted a fully connected smart home at some point in the future. To meet this demand, the number of multi-connected devices is expected to rise to 26 billion by 2020.

Apps for the smart home

Existing devices include products such as Nest and Hive – smart thermostats that allow consumers to control their home's heating via the convenience of an app. Not only are these easier to understand and programme than traditional systems, but they can also save households money by monitoring heating use and automatically adjusting it to maximise efficiency.

For example, Hive will alert you if you leave the house and forget to turn off the heating, while Nest will automatically turn down the heating if it senses there's no-one home. Honeywell's survey found that 66% of respondents would like to be able to control their heating from their phones, and demand is expected to grow as awareness increases.

Staying ‘smart’ about technology

Tradesmen might want to consider investing in training to keep up with these new advances in technology. Being well-informed about the latest gadgets means installers will be perfectly placed to advise homeowners of the cost and time-saving benefits smart homes can bring. This is vitally important given that many consumers aren't certain who they should contact to install a smart home, with just 18% of Honeywell's respondents saying they'd contact their local plumber or electrician.

As a tradesperson, you can potentially combat this by registering with device manufacturers on their 'find an installer' databases. And, of course, by keeping your own website up-to-date with the latest products and services you can install, you can stay ahead of the curve and help potential customers find you more easily.

For more tips on how to protect your trades business, find out more about AXA’s public liability insurance.