Being smarter is the mantra by which we live our lives right now, whether that’s by using smart phones, investing in smart fridges or monitoring our bio movements with fitness trackers. The same shift in focus is also occurring in the home where a growing energy consciousness has led to the development of unique smart products designed to improve control of heating and hot water.

Image removed.Smart heating is not designed to replace traditional methods of heating, but instead to give consumers greater control of their energy usage, provide them with visibility of this usage and deliver the tools they can deploy to manage and control it.

Like other smart products, it is based on the innovations in sensor and mobile technology that in this case enable data drawn from smart meters, micro generation and heating controls to be captured and analysed to build a picture of energy usage specific to that particular home.

What is driving the adoption of smart heating is not just that consumers can more easily monitor their usage and be proactive about making positive changes, but also that they manage this process through simple personalised interfaces on the Internet through their mobiles or on home based devices. 

This is a sector that is set to grow. According to a report from MTW Research last month, based on data from 140 heating suppliers, 18.4 million central heating products were sold in 2016 and while pricing pressure remains an issue, investment in added value features such as smart technology and enhanced user benefits is growing rapidly. They predicted that the influence of smart heating products would encourage double digit growth in the market in the near term. 

Typically smart heating solutions are part of a broader ecosystem which incorporatestraditional heating, hot water and cutting edge energy management techniques. The concept of the hybrid home brings together all of these elements, equipping consumers with monitoring and control technology even to the extent that they can set different ‘zones’ in their homes. To achieve this hybrid home requires the assistance of high-end professionals who can combine the necessary IT skills as well as expertise in both electrics and plumbing.

Consumers realise that combining smart technology with their central heating system, including the boiler and thermostat, requires specialist knowledge and expertise and theyare looking for advice and guidance from installers. Manufacturers too are searching for partners they can trust to evangelise their solutions, and deliver them to ensure consumers get maximum value. 

For the electrical contractor and wholesaler this presents a unique opportunity. Even if, in order to provide customers with best advice, further training is required to add on new IT skills, the benefits to the business of this fast growing and lucrative market are undeniable. Installers who get smarter now have everything to gain from being part of the revolution in the smart home that is only just at its inception. And on top of that, they are also helpinghome owners to save money and understand how they can use less energy. Surely a win-win situation?

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Simon Anderson, Chief Strategy Officer, geo

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