Smart Home Forum 2018

Key technology brands leading the ‘smart’ conversation at the inaugural Smart Home Week Forum


This year’s Smart Home Week campaign got off to a flying start on Thursday 3rd May, where the sponsors came together for the first time to face the media and answer questions on the smart home market, its challenges and market predictions. The campaign officially begins on Monday 21st May, with the forum event providing a good insight into the week to come.

The Forum was held at the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) Headquarters, in London, and involved many of the campaign’s key sponsors including Yale, Amazon, Samsung, Phillips Hue, tadoo, Ring and the British Standards Institution.

The forum gave the press, including key national titles and tech press, the opportunity to speak one-on-one with leading members of the smart technology sector. These included key developers Fabrice Rosseau, from Amazon Alexa’s Euro ‘Skills’ Leader, and George Yianni, Head of Technology as Phillips Hue. The session also involved business experts like Yale’s Managing Director Nigel Fisher, and their Business Development Director David Herbert. Also in attendance were Ring’s European commercial director Bas van Bergen, Claudia Fellerman, Ring’s European Communications Director, Duncan Chamberlain, the UK and Ireland Sales Director for tadoo alonside Abbie Byron, the Director of Global Partner Marketing for Samsung’s SmartThings brand.

They were questioned on a number of issues ranging from market predictions to challenges the industry will face in the future. Other issues covered include sector opportunities, consumer purchasing habits and the market’s responsibility for improving social well-being.

During the session, there were some new developments and interesting points raised. David Mudd, Business Development Director for IoT at the British Standards institute revealed how the government is working on creating a set of British standards for the smart technology industry, a move welcomed by Abbie Byron, who commented “it’s so important to have certification programs such as ‘Works with Alexa’, as it tells consumers that devices are put through rigorous and stringent security standards”.

George Yianni, Head of Technology at Phillips, stressed the importance of seeing smart technology in use. Yianni mentioned the use of smart technology in relation to AirBnB properties, commenting “It’s about seeing it in other houses. Then it becomes compelling rather than just intriguing and that will cause it to snowball.”

For Duncan Chamberlain, smart homes are “about products, plural, that improve or enhance your life – that’s how to think about it”. The idea of improving our quality of life is echoed by Nigel Fisher from Yale, who commented: “we’ve always been about security and standards but this is about lifestyle, so that it becomes seamlessly part of your life.”

Other discussion points came from Amazon’s Fabrice Rosseau, who commented that “the future of the smart home is that the devices are more and more connected, it’s about being able to configure more products together”, and Ring’s Bas van Bergen, who mused on the future of the smart home and it’s accelerating adoption, saying “twenty years ago, you didn’t know who was calling you on the phone. In twenty years from now, you’ll be surprised if someone doesn’t know exactly who’s at their doorstep”.

The forum was well received, and saw attendance from major UK publications including The Telegraph, the Daily Mail and The Inquirer, as well as journalists from key technology titles such as Trusted Reviews, Mighty Gadget and Tech Advisor.