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Smart Home: Making Germany the Lead Market!

One of the first milestones in the programme was the meeting of the core group of 35 companies at the "Smart Home: Making Germany the lead market!" kick-off workshop held in Frankfurt am Main on 15 November 2012. Once broad consensus had been reached in the previous alignment discussions on many key areas, the kick-off workshop saw the establishment of the Market and Technology working groups. The number of companies involved has increased steadily ever since the kick-off.

In the following group workshops held in spring, summer and autumn 2013, further expert teams were set up to address the specific interoperability and IT security requirements of smart home technology, to formulate recommendations on how to optimise the smart home market, and to define the salient points of a suitable seal system. Close collaboration was also established in the field of standardisation with the DKE. New DKE working groups have now been set up: AK 1711.0.1 "Standardisation Roadmap Smart Home", GAK 1711.0.2 "Use Cases", AK 1711.0.3 "Interoperability".

The two-day Smart Home Project Conference held in Berlin in July 2013 was the climax of the "Smart Home + Building Certification Programme" project to date. Attracting over 120 corporate representatives, an interactive format was used to jointly develop user stories and use cases, to identify obstacles to innovation and to hold intensive expert discussions. Various project expert teams were created at the conference.

 

Broad Spectrum of German Companies with International Business Links

In conformity with the overall aims and guiding principles, the main emphasis in the communication with the participants and the invitation to the programme, was set up to attract the broadest possible spectrum of companies from different sectors as new members for the core group. Large companies with international business operations and influential German small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) were included. This core group acted as the "critical mass" and is now rapidly being supplemented by further German and European partners.

 

Summary of the Alignment Discussion

The alignment discussions carried out at the beginning of the project by the Deutsche Dialog Institut with the core group companies generated consensuses prior to the kick-off workshop in November 2012 in key areas:

Open platforms

  • In view of the commanding position of the German small and medium-sized business in the smart home market, open platforms represent an ideal method of opening up the mass market.

  • Open platforms are designed to support the interoperability of current and future smart home systems through harmonised standard interfaces and signals, while offering an adequate level of information security and data privacy protection.

  • This approach presupposes standardisation which in turn is the basis for defining the cross-system interoperability requirements and testing.


Customer Orientation

  • It is not the technology, rather customers' concrete needs which are the key to success. Market development must be based on customer needs.

  • The customer claims the intuitive simplicity to use an impression of fun and play, combined with a tangible benefit. This can only be developed from the experience of the "eco-system" a smart home domain.


Smart Home Mass Market and Marketing

  • The mass market for smart home products is more likely to lie in re-fitting existing buildings rather than in equipping new ones.

  • The smart home market is both a Business-to-Consumer (B2C) and also a Business-to-Business (B2B) market. The residential property market is a key target group. Both markets should be targeted individually.

  • The skilled trades sector in Germany represents a key sales partner, as it plays a key role in the marketing and installation of smart home solutions.


International Orientation

  • Lasting success can only be achieved if it is based on an internationally accepted concept. This is the reason the project was given an international orientation from the outset.

  • Solutions which can be installed by customers themselves are in much greater demand on the international market than here in Germany.

 

Joint Determination of Company Position

The company representatives were questioned on their position regarding the smart home market during the working group workshops and at the project conference in Berlin. The survey yielded the following results:

 

 

 

Contact

Dr. Wolfgang Klebsch
Technology and Innovation
VDE Association For
Electrical Electronic & Information Technologies
Phone: +49 (69) 6308-397
Fax: +49 (69) 63089-397
wolfgang.klebsch@vde.com
 
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