Friday, November 28, 2014

Slush 2014, afterthoughts



Slush 2014 has ended. Conclusions have been made, business cards stacked in neat piles and stored into database. And next steps have been agreed.

Now the whole team is working with important tasks with huge excitement. Mood is great and positive, even better than before the event.

What is Slush?

Slush is a two-days event where startup and growth companies' owners and representatives meet investors, press and naturally each others. This year's Slush was bigger than ever. Over 13.000 visitors from 79 different countries. The number of visitors doubled compared to last year.

One notable part of the event are 300 exhibitors. Companies were selected by a group of influential and high profile professionals. 10% of all the applicants were selected. One of them was Cozify.

900 companies enrolled into 5 minutes pitching-competition. From this list, 100 got their chance to convince a group of investors. The winner was granted with 500.000 Euros investment. Enbrite.ly won this year's competition. We wish all the good for the winner.

So, what stuck into our minds this year?

Slush 2014 was our first public appearance for such a big audience. We put a lot effort into everything to make it matter. Materials, booth design, demo and sharpening our business idea took a lot of time from the whole team. Doing everything well and concentrating into details with great passion is a signal to booth visitors showing that we really care about what we do. Our hard work was well rewarded.

We had our own booth on Tuesday. Small four square meter area where we had to fit a table, tv, small shelf and three (not that small) Cozify advocates. Our booth area was fully packed.

The interest towards our service exceeded our wildest dreams. We presented our service and shared our thoughts with huge amount of visitors from various countries and different backgrounds. It was great to notice there was a real interest towards our service. Many of the booth visitors said they had noticed our service already before the event and wanted to meet us in person to discuss and share thoughts.



Kimmo and Antti had their time at spotlights and were pitching our idea to potential investors and partners in several meetings in order to make valuable connections.

We also got some nice attention from the media. For example one podcast spent some time to explain our service and business model.

Listen brief review from 01:01:01 onward:
Techxpatspodcast

Tuesday was a great day indeed!

On Wednesday we had time to get familiar with other companies' products and services, listen to speeches from inspiring people and meet old and new contacts. The whole event area was filled with a positive and encouraging atmosphere. The visitors were on good mood and the surroundings were amazing. The production exceeded the level of Eurovision contest, held in Helsinki in 2007. The exhibition area was simply put great.

A lot of the companies presenting came from different backgrounds. Biisafe, Optiwatti, Haltian, Nimble, Cosmethics and codementor are examples of interesing consepts and products.

A big part of the event were the inspiring speakers. Ilkka Paananen, Jorma Ollila, Esa-Pekka Salonen, Tiina Zilliacus, Marko Ahtisaari and Mikko Hyppönen inspired and gave people something to think about. Not to mention the speakers from the many other countries.

Once again on Wednesday both Kimmo and Antti were giving presentations about our services with great passion and full heart.

Slush has now grown from a baby event to at least to a teenager level. The number of visitors and companies participating the event is simply amazing. An event that has just in five years grows from 200 visitors to 13.000 is an achievement many don't ever reach.

What remains to be seen is, will the event outgrow from its own carcass. With this year's setup the event was extremely useful for startups like us. We will participate next year for sure. We also recommend the event to everyone and wish all the startups huge success and long life.

Read more about Slush from www.slush.org. Now we, the Cozify team, will land back to the ground level and continue our voyage towards our own dream. The launch date is getting nearer and there is a ton of things yet to be done.

Ps. We will select our next pilot program group soon. To be on the candidate list to become a participant in the next pilot, please fill in our preorder form at www.cozify.fi.



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The sneak peek: Market research

Home automation has become commonplace very quickly. And everywhere!
Or has it? We asked ourselves the same question several times over the past year and a half.

To see if we were right about this, we commissioned a market research study in October this year. We asked people with different backgrounds from Finland, Germany and United States to answer questions related to home automation. A total of 4,000 people responded to the survey: 1,000 from Finland, 1,000 from Germany and 2,000 from the United States. In other words, the survey sample is comprehensive.

A brief note on the geographical differences

Home automation is prominently featured in the United States. New companies and products are popping up every week, and megalomaniacal acquisitions are attracting a lot of attention. For this reason, we expected that home automation had already found its way into many homes in the United States.

The findings, however, showed quite the contrary.



Based on our research, less than 20% of households in the United States have acquired home automation. In Finland, the figure is about 22% and in Germany, the locomotive of home automation, it is just under 25%. Finland and Germany did not surprise us, but the low relative figures in the United State certainly did. This includes products and systems related to the control of safety, energy efficiency, lighting and household appliances.

"The Internet of Things (IoT) is currently receiving a lot of coverage that can be attributed to its great power to revolutionise the operating practices. The results, of course, should always be treated with some degree of caution, but the industry is going through a major transition. Although more than 50% of Germans do not intend to buy home automation in the next two years, there are still 16 million households seriously considering it. In Finland, the corresponding figure is approximately 700,000 households. Hence, the Internet of Things will very soon affect the everyday behaviour of many of us at home.” Antti Vihavainen, Business Development & Sales, Cozify Oy

Antti Vihavainen
Business Development & Sales, Cozify Oy


Why is the penetration rate for home automation in the United States so low?

Although home automation in the product range of shops, operators and other service providers is represented more widely in the U.S. than it is, for example, in Finland, the products have not yet become mainstream.

The fanfare associated with the launch of the Internet of Thing (IoT) easily creates the impression that IoT and new generation home automation have already entered many homes. Particularly in the United States. In this context, it is worth mentioning that IoT is not the same as home automation. And vice-versa.

There is no right answer to this question, but the biggest reason is probably associated with building an image and creating hype. SmartThings, purchased by Samsung for about $200 million dollars, has predicted to be supplied less than 20,000 product packages. This was before the deal was announced this summer. At the beginning of the year, Forbes estimated that the Nest's smart thermostat was found in about 1% of U.S. homes. The numbers are still low. 

Age and home automation

The research reveals an interesting point related to age, particularly in Finland: 25% of people age 56 and older have already purchased products or services in some sector within the scope of home automation. Nearly half of the people have bought products to control lighting, entertainment or home appliances.

The interesting thing here is that exactly the opposite holds true when we check the responses from Germany and the United States. In Germany, by far the largest group to acquire home automation included 18-22-year-olds. In the United States, the differences even out a bit, but younger people there have also purchased more products and services related to home automation than older respondents.

What is the preferred method to acquire home automation

Now we get to a very interesting topic. If respondents were going to buy home automatic, what purchase model would they choose? Don't peek at the answer yet. I challenge you to choose the option below that in your opinion received the most answers:

Purchase model:
  1. Equipment is purchased and paid in full, no monthly payment
  2. A service fee, which covers the equipment starter pack and support for future technologies and equipment
  3. A combination of the above, with a low initial payment to cover at least part of the equipment. The monthly service fee covers additional paid services and support for future technologies and equipment

Answer:

In each country, the result was the following: about half of the respondents would rather buy the whole package as a one-off purchase while the other half liked the model with no initial payment or a low initial payment and a monthly charge.

Young people preferred the one-time purchase option. A majority of respondents 36 and older liked the continuous service model.

What do you think of these results? Did they surprise you? Join the discussion in the comment section below or on our Facebook page and tell us what you would like to hear more about.

- Antti, Business Development, Cozify

This is Cozify’s blog, where we ruminate on home automation technologies and practices and share company news. Articles come from our own team as well as other experts in the field.

You are welcome to read and comment.