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Why We Must Get Smarter

The window and door industry is morphing into the smart home sector, says Mark Bromley, CEO and Founder of Kubu. It’s also full of opportunity and one in which lasting partnerships will thrive, as she goes on to highlight.

When PVCu windows and door came into the UK market during the late 1960s and into the early 1970s, industry commentators said that this was the future for the sector. In the 1980s the sector continued to enjoy growth yet in the 1990s the sector seemed saturated. Today, the market has shown an uncanny way of re-inventing itself thanks to accelerated consumer demand and other unique social and economic variables, as well as reflecting increased product specifications and features.

But what will be the future direction of the industry? The answer is in smart-sensor technology as they look to automate and control appliances and consumer goods around the home and use real-time notifications via apps and through sophisticated monitoring and learning software.

The success of the likes of Google Nest and Hive from British Gas cannot be underestimated in the smart thermostat market, nor can the impact of Amazon’s Ring product and Philips Hue smart lighting technology, while the likes of Samsung and Apple are also in on the smart-tech market. While there are several global research studies reporting varying market sizes, each one does highlight a strong upwards adoption curve, which is why so many companies are investing in smart home technologies and at Kubu we’re no different.

In the UK alone, the 2019 Smart Home Survey, reported that there are now 15 million smart homes in the UK and a poll of 2,000 adults found 57 per cent of homes now have some sort of smart device to control appliances. It is also estimated that around 5% of UK homes out of a total of 29 million now have smart heating controls installed, with significant growth expected in the next 5 years.

We have already invested heavily and continue to do so for our Kubu smart-sensor product for doors and the same technology will realise a window sensor in the coming months, prior to the FIT Show. Our strategy has and will be as an industry pioneer with this technology and already we can boast that fact that several leading window and door manufacturers have partnered up with us, as have a number of leading and well-respected installation companies.

For the last 18 months our manufacturing partners have been using our Avantis multi-point lock, which has been designed and manufactured with a captive slot for a Kubu smart sensor. This can be offered on all residential doors that require a traditional sash profile and composite doors too. So, there are no additional costs during production nor additional requirements at the point of installation.

But an important point to note is that the manufacture of smart-sensors needs to meet certain standards and the fact that we have our own ISO classification clean room is only part of the equation. We have dedicated product assembly lines that have already manufactured 120 million sensors over a period of 10 years, and 80% of the global demand for Brita, pioneers in water filtration systems for domestic and trade applications.

Activation of the Kubu-equipped windows and doors can be done by the homeowner directly once when they purchase a Kubu Kit directly from the website or through their Kubu Pro Installer and there’s full support offered directly by us and through our software and firmware engineers. Consumers are activating their Kubu equipped doors daily now and we’re already well on with v2.0 of the software and firmware, so our development programme is robust and proven. Installers are always looking to differentiate their offering and so Kubu equipped doors and windows can provide real sales opportunity and ultimately, an opening into the smart home market.

For the trade, the important part is to start considering partnering up with a smart-sensor technology today, as this will become the norm tomorrow for windows and doors. Our advice is to choose a smart partner wisely, as it’s a long-term commitment affecting the future of all businesses in the sector. But ultimately pick one that is fully integrated across all aspects of the product’s design, manufacture, development and support.