With this experience, we are now able to connect all the dots and accelerate our efforts. However, I would say that we are still in the firsthalf of our journey. We are now making sure that everything is connected and that we have a single view of our end user and that all the necessary steps regarding security and privacy are taken into consideration. In order to fully answer, you have to understand that connected switches and outlets are part of a larger connected home ecosystem. The fact that a switch is connected has little direct impact on the consumer, however, if you consider that switch or outlet as a set of intelligent sensors, then their role becomes key.
These switches are already present in every room of your house, they could integrate temperature sensors, air quality sensors, light sensors, and microphones. That data will make your smart home assistants more intelligent and will also make your home safer by monitoring any electrical hazard, for example. Coupled with usage data and artificial intelligence, our products could improve your quality of life tremendously in the home as well as contribute to substantial energy savings.
Over the last few years, we have focused on using design as a differentiating factor. When you are in a very commoditized industry like ours — with switches and outlets —you must find ways to differentiate.
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Our design teams now work at the product conception phase with the engineering teams. These design teams employ a user-centered design approach, which is a framework where things like usability goals and user characteristics are studied at each phase of the design process. For example, what do our users do when they come home from work? What parts of their home do they often touch? The designers think about how our end users might interact with our products — through voice, touch, or motion — and how they can use that information to build designs for new user interfaces.
We believe that focusing on voice, touch, and motion in this user-centric design approach differentiates us. Early on, we saw the need to build a partnership strategy and so that it is one of the key pillars of our acceleration program — building an open ecosystem where our products are interoperable. We started out with voice assistance because we decided not to build our own voice assistance technology. It is already out there with Apple, Amazon, and Google and we saw potential for partnering as they do not have the products that we offer. We make sure that our products are compatible with whatever system the customer chooses to put in their house.
In addition to technology partners, we have many business partnerships.
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The IoT Guestroom Lab explores concepts that have the potential to elevate the guest experience and create more efficient hotel room design and construction. It has multiple responsive IoT systems, creating devices with sophisticated voice control technology that allow the guest to alter lighting, arrange a wake-up call, and even turn the shower on at the desired temperature. The lab helps the industry serve guests better and optimizes hotel operations.
We are also working with start-ups to build an ecosystem around the start-up community. Most recently, we acquired smart home start-up Netatmo.
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The solution could allow you to build a house with a smart electrical installation from day one and is compatible with many technologies, such as Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa. It has been up and running for a year. Deciding to open everything up was a big cultural change.
Opening the Legrand ecosystem has resulted in many more potential partners. We see companies and developers who we would not have thought were interested in connecting to switches, but who are now looking for these sorts of connections and data to build new services. For us, digital means more collaboration internally.
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