It’s tough to argue against how influential the technology provided by Thomas Edison’s General Electric has been on society since GE first provided a means of electric lighting in American homes over a century ago. Since that time, the electrical infrastructure has been laid leading to an explosion in greater and more advanced electronic appliances in the home beyond just electric lighting. Living in the 21st Century places us on the brink of yet another major technological leap forward with the advent of home automation and the smart devices involved with it. We at HSS.net have the great opportunity of asking one of the top minds in Home Automation some questions about its impact, development, and future progres.
Kenneth Kerr is the President and CEO of HomeControls.com and he was kind enough to answer some of our questions:
HomeSecuritySystems.net: Home Controls got its start in the industry back in 1989. What got you interested in starting a business in such an exciting industry?
Kenneth Kurr: It was evident at that time that a company set up to support home automation industry technology was likely to have good growth opportunities. As an entrepreneur, Home Controls was my fourth business and I became enthused with the possibility of growing in a fun industry and helping people enjoy additional comfort, convenience, security and energy savings at the same time.
HSS: We can infer the promise of the home automation by the fact that big companies not formerly affiliated with the industry coming out with their own products. What sort of industry growth have you seen happen since starting Home Controls in 1989?
KK: Naturally significant growth has occurred since 1989. When Home Controls started, marketing communication was by industry magazine advertising and catalog distribution. Marketing was expensive and industry companies were small which limited the number of people who actually knew about the home automation and security options available. Since then it is much simpler and less expensive to get the word out to millions of people using email and internet methods. This, along with additional industry manufacturers and improved products has helped growth in a big way.
HSS: There are many types of home automation systems out there and even more joining the ranks with big companies like Microsoft and Comcast starting to offer their home automation own products. What is the most popular type of home automation system or product bought by consumers through Home Controls?
KK: Home owners are very interested in security systems, especially the wireless easy to install versions. They are also interested in automation controls to help them integrate their lighting, HVAC and security. The reason most of our customers buy this type of product from Home Controls is because we make it a point to provide them with technical support and advice before, during and after installation. This gives them the freedom and opportunity to purchase a much larger variety of home automation products than if they had no support.
HSS: Due to the multiple types of home automation systems available, what should a consumer look for when choosing the best one to fit their home’s needs?
KK: They should look for product quality that ensures that the item will just work and stay working. And they should look for controller products that can expand and grow as their system requirements expand. Since most people are not experienced in putting together a home automation system, they should look for a supplier that has been in the home automation business for a long time and that can provide complimentary product advice, system design, and even troubleshooting help after the system is installed. Since many manufacturers are not staffed to help consumers directly, they need to be able to look to their distribution supplier for any help they may need.
HSS: The home automation industry is a very dynamic market to do business in. What new and exciting things can we expect to see over the next decade from the industry and Home Controls?
KK: Technology is now progressing so fast that it is very difficult to foresee as much as ten years ahead. But during that time we can expect to see the booming growth of everything being controlled automatically and by mobile devices. More and more devices at home such as lights, heating and air, security, entertainment equipment, appliances, computers and more will become easier to control through pre-programmed devices that are closer to plug and play. And Home Controls will continue to offer new products that enhance the lives of homeowners and make sure we are always capable of providing the friendly customer service level that is very much favored by most people.