Back in 2012 when Simply Comfort was just starting out in Toronto, Ontario, their main focus was on providing heating & cooling services to customers. In four short years, they rebranded to Simply Smart Home and set their sights on smart home products. Today, they are a traditional HVAC company in many ways but continue to evolve in a rapidly changing market place.
Recently, the Ontario Green Fund offered free smart thermostats to 100 000 homeowners in the province and they were snatched up within a week. The largely positive response to the program demonstrates that the demand for smart technology is high.
"Customer satisfaction and demand are the main driving forces behind why we're embracing smart home as part of our service line up," says Simply Smart Home founder, Kirill Tatarinov. "Customers are really excited about how much information this new technology is giving them."
It seems like a no-brainer for HVAC companies to start offering smart solutions like this but there are some difficulties. It has taken Kirill some trial and error to figure out the best ways of offering the sensors to his customers. The main barrier to adoption centered around the cost of the devices but Kirill has some suggestions for HVAC contractors and vendors.
"It's all about packaging. You can just sell your customers hardware or you can put together some affordable packages like the smart water sensor or, Nest E. Don't just try it once and say it failed. You have to keep reworking your maintenance bundles until you hit on the right combination."
The other challenge Kirill has run into has been some reluctance on the part of HVAC contractors or vendors to adopt the new technology. But says he is confident that there will always be a need for what he calls "traditional HVAC service."
"Homes are only going to get smarter in the future but many homeowners are overwhelmed with choice. We've positioned ourselves as experts in this new technology. And when there are problems on the customer's property, they'll still need a plumber come and do repairs. The same goes for gas technicians and furnaces, too."
It seems these initial challenges should not deter people from engaging with this new technology which is the future. There are also opportunity costs associated with not taking steps to start offering this technology to customers.
"If your competition is doing something that you aren’t offering, then you're in a position to lose market share. Those who move quickly will win. They'll be the ones awarded with long-term customer contracts. That's why we've positioned our business to focus on smart home. HVAC companies and contractors should be doing anything they can to get started with smart sensors and analytics."
And Simply Smart Home is already off to a great start.
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