“Bring it on” – Dixons goads competition as smart home sales soar

Dixons Carphone says there’s "room for everyone to play" in the emerging market for smart/connected home products, saying that strong competition can help grow the sector.

Speaking to PCR from the Smart Home Summit earlier this month, Dave Ward, Dixons Carphone’s head of new technology, innovation and connected home, revealed that the retailer has enjoyed a fourfold increase in sales of smart home products (during its financial quarter ending April 2015).

When asked about the number of vendors in this space, including Apple, Samsung, Amazon and Google, Ward replied: "There’s a lot of room for everyone to play, because the market is relatively nascent. In fact, I encourage it. People say to me: ‘What do you think about Apple coming along in this space?” And I say: “I think it’s brilliant.’

"The more people doing it, the more awareness there is. At some point, how I feel about that might change, but right now, absolutely – bring it on. Bring on some competition, because this is about everyone doing it.

"John Lewis are selling things, we’re selling things, we had a guy at this event earlier from Euronics talking about it – it requires everybody in this market to drive it forward, not just us.

"We will drive it forward because we have tens of millions of conversations every year with people, and we’ve got a place where we can be meaningful about it. The connected home and smart home is really important for us."

Ward also said that the Government has a part to play in regulating smart home security products, like smart CCTV cameras.

"One of the things we’ll always ensure is we’ll adhere to the standards that are out there that require people to have security," he added.

"I think governments have a part to play in this. Over time, this has to become something that is in regulation. At the moment, I can wander around a million different protocols and standards, and over time government will help to regulate that. If you think about the way that the 3G/4G markets are regulated, maybe we might see something similar happen here. 

"Security is paramount, but I think the first thing people have to hurdle over is things like privacy. What do you do with the data, where does it go and so on. Retailers like ourselves have a big part to play in that because we can help people navigate what that means. We’ll do that as the market grows."

Read more from Dave Ward in the upcoming November issue of PCR

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