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Build a Vacation Rental Smart Home Network? [Some Things You Build, Some Things You Buy.]

By August 15, 2014 No Comments

vaya-con-dios-brah-point-break-parodyThe smart home market is growing fast!

The estimates keep eclipsing each other. The most recent study “expects the U.S. smart home market to grow from the current size of $1.3 billion to $7.8 billion in 2019.” Smart home systems and services will ring up sales of $18 billion in the U.S. this year and could more than double to $39 billion by 2019, fueled by security and home control products, Strategy Analytics predicted in a report Thursday.

But I sure do feel for consumers. How can you possibly tell one vendor from another?!

New products and new technology seem to be materializing over night.

Sure, Apple and Google are house-hold names, but do they know “smart home” more than other industry players?

It’s a challenging consumer landscape, and I urge you to use caution. Seek proven technology and proven companies. “Bet on the right horse.” 🙂

Here are a couple posts that may offer some additional insight as you evaluate the smart home market:

As difficult as sorting through vendor differences can be, there is another smart home approach that is even more challenging:

Building your own smart home network!?

PointCentral is building smart home networks day in and day out. I can tell you from experience, it’s quite an undertaking.

On top of managing all those homes?! Yowza!

But that is just what a vacation rental manager out of Portland has done – Vacasa builds “smart” thermostat network.

Hats off Vacasa. Clearly a progressive VRM that recognizes the power of technology to improve operations and gain a competitive advantage.

Awesome to see the VR industry embracing smart home technology.

But to build your own network? Is the payoff really there?

Clearly Vacasa believes the payoff is there, but I’d say it’s too early to tell if a home-grown system has “legs.”

I’m not confident Google or Apple have the smart home figured out, and you can’t get much bigger/richer than those brands.

There are some serious drawbacks to consider:

  • WiFi, not a reliable cellular network
  • No “enterprise” control
  • Only thermostats? What about the core of VRM smart home – real-time keyless access control?
  • Smart home technical support?
  • How quickly will development happen?
  • Secure system?

With that said, it is still very exciting to see the smart home industry taking off and the VR industry keeping pace. Where are these two intersecting industries headed?

Time will tell. As they say in Point Break, “vaya con dias, brah.”

My suggestion? Stick with experts that specialize and know the game. Some things you build, and some things you buy.

I believe VRM smart home control is a tool with such specialization that you, your guests, and your homeowners deserve an expert perspective.

Plot Twist

Here’s a bit of a plot twist though. The vacation rental industry is building a myriad of smart home networks whether we all know/like it or not.

As I’ve discussed, your homeowners are technology adopters, and they are installing smart home technology.

it may only be a mild headache for you to manage multiple smart home networks today, but this trend is growing…fast.

What may be one or two homeowners controlling their own thermostat remotely (even when guests are in the home!), is quickly turning into homeowners using cameras to spy on guests, and keyless locks that you can’t control.

It’s time to get ahead of this trend.

If you don’t get out in front of this wave, the operational improvements, client satisfaction, and revenue opportunity may be traded for operational chaos and increased headaches.You’ll be stuck with a mishmash smart home network that is major headache and exceedingly difficult to control.