‘Get on board with smart tech now’, retailers urged

Simon Gosling, a futurist for Unruly, the video ad tech company, has insisted KBB retailers must take an interest in smart-home technology or risk missing out on growing opportunities in the sector

Speaking at the kbbreview Retail & Design conference, at the heart of the kbb Birmingham Show, Simon Gosling (pictured) explained how the conceptual Internet of Things (IoT) market is predicted to add £1.37 trillion to the global economy in 2019 and revealed how KBB retailers can take advantage of this profitable market.

“Kitchen, bedroom and bathroom retailers need to make sure they are switched on to the opportunities offered by the homes of the future,” Gosling said. “The level of technology in the average home is increasing exponentially, and there are plenty of themes and areas that will impact KBB retailers and designers.

“Emerging tech, such as holograms, augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR), will become the standard within the next 20 years, as will connected appliances, but there is so much more to the smart home of the future.

“I would also say that KBB retailers should start to take an interest now in voice-activated products and services. By 2020, 50% of all internet searches will be done by voice without a screen.”

During his presentation, Gosling used the Unruly Home, a 2,000sq ft space at Unruly’s London HQ showing what the connected home of 2020 would look like, as a case study to educate KBB dealers how they can highlight and sell the benefits of this technology to consumers in their own showrooms.

“When it comes to selling the benefits of automation and smart appliances to consumers, seeing is believing,” he told delegates. “Transform your showroom into a kitchen or bathroom of the future, so that your customers can see for themselves just what can be achieved with emerging tech.”

“Many people have already experienced the convenience that voice activation and AI have brought to their cars and are now wishing that their homes were as efficient. This is paving the way towards the uptake of this tech within their homes. Those retailers who can capture the early adopters will have a head start on the rest. Creating a showroom where consumers can experience for themselves the spine-tingling excitement that a beautiful smart kitchen can offer will keep you one step ahead, as we move firmly into the connected age.”

While explaining how retailers can break into the connected home market, he advised them to build partnerships with brands that also recognise the advantages of this growing market.

“If KBB retailers were to ask me what they should be doing to make the most of the connected-home market, I would say align yourselves with tech-savvy brands that are investing in understanding the homes of the future,” Gosling said. “Those manufacturers whose advertising stresses the benefits that connected products bring to the home will succeed. However, given the desire to hide tech away, it is also important to align yourselves with brands attuned to the interior design and lifestyle needs of the future home.

“Brands that are passionate about the consumer experience and keen to understand the value they can bring to consumers in their homes will be the ones that make the most of this opportunity for themselves and you, their trade customers.”

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