mySMAhome.com sat down with Thomas Knops, Head of Marketing & Sales, Connected Home to talk about the Qivicon’s development, benefits for users and the market changes. According to Knops, we are at the early stage, but smart home’s commoditized era has taken off.
1. How long has Qivicon been launched?
Qivicon was launched in IFA 2013. It was a B2B2C platform. When we started it in 2013, we had just 6 business partners and now extend to over 30. For example, Sonos and Osram are our latest partners. World-famous brands such as Miele, Samsung, Telekom, D-link, etc. are all part of this Qivicon family. More and more partners are expected to be included in the Qivicon platform.
2. Can you explain the relationship between Qvicon and its business partner?
Qvicon is a B2B2C platform. We do not sell to end-users directly. Every partner has their own smart home solutions, service, or mobile applications with different focus. The only thing they shared is Qivicon's gateway as their central station and the technical platform itself.
Qvicon is an open platform to link the whole ecosystem up. For example, if you have a Deutsche Telekom solution, and you want to add a D-link camera together, it is feasible – only plug and play. All you have to do is check if the D-link camera is compatible with Qivicon and the Telekom App.
3. So far, the over 30 partners are more western brands. Any chances for Qivicon to add Asian brands in the family?
Yes, it is possible. As a matter of fact, we are now talking to an important Asian brand. The news will be soon released. Despite Qivicon’s focus is now mainly in Europe, we are interested in other markets in the world. We would like to add every powerful partner who can bring Qivicon into local market.
Qivicon works with Eclipse community to seek potential partners or software developers. Eclipse is a community for individuals and organizations who wish to collaborate on commercially-friendly open source software.
4. Will Qivicon launch its own-brand hardware devices such as Qivicon camera or smart plug?
No. Qivicon’s role in smart home industry is to provide an open platform to its partners and end users. It is just like intel and PC. Intel won’t launch its own PC or laptop, just in case the PC manufacturers who are intel’s customers and the compete at the same time. It is the same with Qivicon. We do not develop our own devices, as it may create tensions with our existing partners. And if we do so, no companies will partner with Qivicon.
5. Who are Qivicon’s competitors?
I haven’t seen any supplier quite like us in Europe. But from the global perspective, Google’s Nest, Apple, SmartThings (by Samsung Electronics) are also in a very good position. I won’t say they are our competitors. Instead, Qivicon can hook them up together, just like we have done this with SONOS and Philips.
Again, we are an open platform. Partnership is what Qivicon has been seeking.
6. Is openness the major benefits Qivicon bringing to users?
Yes, I would say openness is one of the major attractions. Users are not bund with one particular group.
Two more benefits should not be missed. First, users understand Qivicon is backed up by Deutsche Telekom, who has long history and solid supports with its customers. Users do not need to worry about the credibility of Qivicon and it´s security. We can supply reliability to end users. And secondly, Qvicon-based solution is very easy to use. It is designed for general users with no technical background. No complex setting is required. And if you relocate from one apartment to another, you can just move the device like TV sets.
7. Comparing to the smart home market scenarios 3 years ago, what is the most difference that the current market reflects?
I will response to this with 4 parts.
Product-wise, there have been more and more products launched in the market. Not just solutions, many standalone products are available. Users are having more choices.
And price also helps. Many starter-kits costing Euro 199 in the market encourage users to try smart home products. There are many different pricing ranges from 199 to 300 or more. Users can pick whatever they need.
Communication-wise, the increasing demand has been pushing more products to solve users’ problems. In Germany, the energy issue is highlighted. Users demand better ways to manage their energy expenses and smart home solutions can help.
Distribution-wise, there are no sales channels only specialized in smart home yet. However, more and more sales channels of different industries are involved in smart home. We are at an early stage of smart home. I would say it would take few years to truly commoditize it. But smart home is on the similar track of smart phone development. And it has been started.