5 Things to Know About the “Do-It-For-Me” Smart Home

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Wondering whether a professionally-installed, “Do-It-For-Me” (DIFM) system or a “Do-It-Yourself” (DIY) system is best when it comes to smart home tech? Icontrol Networks breaks down the options.

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Guest post by Greg Roberts, VP of Marketing for Icontrol Networks

Smart home is a buzzword making its way from the technology world to the mainstream, and chances are, you are starting to hear the term more and more. Before thinking about what appliances and devices to connect, though, homeowners need to determine whether a professionally-installed/Do-It-For-Me (DIFM) system or a Do-It-Yourself (DIY) system is best for them.

The difference between the two is simple – with a DIFM smart home system, a service provider (think Xfinity or ADT) will send a technician out to install the technology and show homeowners how it is used, while also handling the ongoing monitoring of the home. With a DIY solution, the customer handles that process on their own.

Earlier this month, Icontrol Networks surveyed 552 customers across seven well-known DIFM smart home solutions to get a sense of the customer experience, from the purchasing process to specifics on usage. Below are five key takeaways from the survey.

1. People love their professionally-installed smart home systems
We saw dramatically high levels of customer satisfaction – more than 96 percent of those surveyed said they were “very satisfied” or “satisfied” with their systems. And while DIFM systems can be more costly than DIY options, approximately 96 percent said they would purchase their systems again.

2. DIFM customers are less concerned their data will be used inappropriately
More than 97 percent “agree” or “strongly agree” that their system will not be accessed illegally, and nearly 91 percent “agree” or “strongly agree” that their data will not be used for marketing purposes.

3. People pick their service provider based on reputation
Most customers who purchased a DIFM smart home system were already proactively looking for a solution. So where are they turning for advice? A majority did research online (72 percent) or followed the recommendation of family/friends (51 percent). When it came to ultimately picking one provider, though, more than half (60 percent) said the reputation of the company was a major factor in their decision.

4. People use their smart home features primarily to make their lives easier
Connected devices offer a number of benefits, from the cost savings of controlling home energy usage to the peace-of-mind of knowing your kids (and pets) are safe at home. When it came to using smart lighting/appliances, thermostats, door locks or garage door control features, though, ease of use and convenience emerged as the top motivating factors.

5. Customer service and product materials are important resources
When talking to customers about where they turned for additional information about their DIFM smart home systems, most cited printed/online instructions while still getting accustomed to the technology. Once customers had their system for some time, though, more than two-thirds turned to customer support.

DIFM smart home solutions are a great option, particularly for less tech-savvy homeowners. If you’re interested in learning more, check out Icontrol’s website.

Learn more about smart home technology and search for a smart home in your area at coldwellbanker.com/smarthome.

Greg Roberts low resGreg Roberts serves as the vice president of marketing for Icontrol Networks. Roberts started with Icontrol in 2006 and leads all corporate marketing and communications initiatives for the company.

Victoria Keichinger is the Vice President, Brand Marketing for Coldwell Banker Real Estate. When she's not managing national media and advertising for the Coldwell Banker brand at work, she finds herself most at home in Jersey City, NJ with her pre-school crush turned spouse and son. A true Francophile, she loves to travel and will go anywhere there are ski slopes.

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1 Comment

  1. Steve Muenstermann
    September 20, 2017

    This is a great article.

    As a custom integrator for connected homes and commercial I have had numerous people tell me that they have bought a DIY technology and; it doesn’t work, the technology is too hard, why won’t my ZigBee, Zwave, (etc) connect to my wireless, my technology only works sometimes, I will install it someday, why won’t my technologies talk to each other, and others too numerous to mention.

    The DIFM model is a great model. However, with the DIY devices and some providers, like the two providers you mention, you have very limited function and scalability. It can also greatly impact the bandwidth of your wireless and home network to the point at where you have other devices dropping offline. We see this too often to count. It also comes at a significant reoccurring cost to the home/office owner. As long as the consumer is okay with that than to move that direction.

    With custom integrators, they will provide the DIFM model and you may only be impacted by the minimal cost of the monthly fees depending on the device you are using. They can also consult you on the plus, limitations, and minuses of your selected technology.

    The Connected Home (AKA; SMARThome), is at the chasm point of wide adoption. When this happens many people who have placed significant investment into DIY gadgets that are limited, orphaned, will be a bit disappointed in their limited capability. However, they can take pride in knowing that they help drive the innovation by their investment and criticism into the technology they are using which will drive what will become a new normal for the average homeowner in 2025 and beyond.

    Those that make the investment into a true migratable automation system may add updates but will have the footprint of a scalable dynamic control system that will offer far more capabilities than what they are able to achieve with their DIY gadgets.

    Coldwell Banker is quite the innovator as far as real estate companies go. They recognize the emergence of this rapidly growing space and are embracing it with open arms. I actually wish our local branches had the same philosophy but like any change it takes time and most agents are fearful of what they don’t know.

    Keep up the message! CB will be recognized as the SMART-Home, SMART-Building and possibly SMART-City leader in the real-estate market.

    Reply

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