Installers should get excited about smart heating controls

Smart heating controls now have internet access and can link to phones and tablet computers, which is making it easy for people to stay on top of their energy usage. But should installers be getting excited about this new technology?  
Installer spoke to Rich Burrows – a Honeywell Installer Network member and owner of Overall Maintenance Limited and the EVOHOME shop – to get his views on the evolving smart heating controls market, and how he is making the most of the smart home trend now. Here’s what he had to say:

“As an installer, the main change I have noticed is that we are now dealing with networks in both commercial and domestic environments. Jobs in the home are much more technical than they were a few years ago. Few customers are ready for a fully connected smart home, but they are keen to make a start. An entry-level connected thermostat enables homeowners to control their heating with their smartphone – and opens the door to the option of multi-functional solutions in the future.
“After experiencing a high demand for connected thermostats, I started a new venture, The EVOHOME Shop.  I’m pleased to say not only has this been great for business, but it’s also become a great platform to help educate installers on smart homes and connected technology. Often installers get in touch to ask how to set up smart controls for the homeowners, after they have installed products. We often talk them through the process of setting up heating systems, tailoring it to each individual homeowners’ needs, and we have even invited installers to come out with us on the road to watch how we install the systems so they can learn first-hand.
“This indicates to me that training and learning is the main challenge that the industry faces. Manufacturers are producing really intuitive products which, most importantly, have easy-to-use interfaces for homeowners. Where we come in is making sure we have the skills to install them correctly, and support the sophisticated back-end technology.
“It seems to me that getting to grips with the smart home should be top of the agenda for installers in 2015. The technology is only going to get more intuitive, so upskilling is key to stay on top – and potentially ahead – of the trend.”
Controlling a home’s heating, lighting and security system has never been easier. But in order to keep ahead of this new market of smart controls, installers will need to really sell themselves and their businesses. Andy Mansfield, marketing manager at Honeywell, discusses how installers can maximise their businesses by tapping into the smart heating controls industry.

“The heating industry has evolved rapidly over the past few years. Heating controls have become more compact and smarter, and now with internet-enabled controls coming to the forefront, controlling the heating is easier, allowing consumers to match their heating to their lifestyles. Altogether, these are significant developments for the installer, given the opportunities to upskill and upsell.

“For the industry, the smart home means that there is an increase in consumer awareness, both in terms of heating controls and the seemingly endless possibilities of smart devices talking to each other. With this growth comes the need for manufacturers to educate heating engineers on new products and installs, as well as guidance on how they can help homeowners achieve a fully connected smart home.
“Now is the time for installers to declare their stake in the smart home market for themselves. Upskilling, working with other tradespeople and even having online shops selling smart products are all ways to capitalise on this new market trend.
“So while we know the demand for smart technology is here, there is still more installers can be doing to maximise the opportunities now. Manufacturers like Honeywell are helping by offering online and face-to-face training.”
For more information on Honeywell’s training and smart heating controls please visit www.honeywelluk,com/getconnected.