The rate at which technology is progressing is truly amazing, and yet it can be hard to see since we are in the thick of it. The first generation of the iPhone was announced less than a decade ago. Now, everything from your car to your slow cooker to your smoke detector can use that device to communicate with you. Companies are racing to develop products for the Smart Home and Smart Car spaces, and while they are spread out across the country, there is one region within the U.S. that should be of particular interest to them – the Southeast.
It’s a Hot Region
Being located in Orlando, the PAN office is all too familiar with spending the holiday season in short sleeves and the struggle of trying to drive a car with its scalding hot steering wheel in the middle of summer. For the Smart Home sector, this can be an advantage. Cities like Miami, Atlanta and Charlotte require air-conditioning for large portions of the year or even all year-round. The heat can be expensive to deal with and certainly makes residents pay more attention to their electricity bills. This can be a major advantage for any Smart Home tech that specifically has an energy efficiency angle.
Some of the most popular Smart Home technologies were based on improving the intelligence of the thermostat to save energy. Now there’s a flood of smart lighting and smart appliances on the market to also achieve this end. These technologies are attractive not only to consumers, but also to their utilities companies, which want to ensure that they can meet the growing demand for electricity. The smarter and more energy efficient a home becomes, the happier everyone is.
Getting in on the Ground Floor
According to a list put together by Forbes, the Southeast is responsible for a quarter of the top 20 US metros that experienced the most new construction in 2015. Three of the metros – Orlando, Tampa and Miami – are located in Florida. It’s not too hard to imagine that, in the near future, Smart Home infrastructure will be incorporated into the building process of a home. With the market for smart devices being so fragmented, getting your smart products incorporated in new construction would have significant benefits. There would be the potential to witness large volume sales, create brand loyalty and provide an opportunity for add-on devices that could work with the existing technology.
Revving up Business
While the focus has been on Smart Homes, there are benefits for the Smart Car industry, as well. The Southeast is full of states and metros that are built for driving. Unlike New York City, Boston and San Francisco, it’s difficult to get around without your own vehicle. There are also numerous new top-name automobile production plants in Alabama, Mississippi, Tennessee and Georgia. The Southeast provides the opportunity to be located in a large end-user market and for OEM partners.
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Booming Market Potential
While tech and young people may seem to go hand-in-hand, the Baby Boomer market is still very large. This could be a bit out-of-the-box, but Smart Home and Smart Car technology with an aging population has potential to be a very good fit. Majority of the younger generation would agree that having Smart Home technology in place for their aging parents and grandparents would provide some peace of mind.
Smart security systems could notify the family when there’s been a break in, smart smoke/carbon monoxide detectors and monitoring solutions would ensure safety, and there are even wellness products, such as medicine dispensers. Admittedly, we are not there yet, but self-driving cars could provide safe transportation once the technology is perfected.
Growing Tech Scenes
The Southeast overall is growing its technology sector and, as my colleague pointed out her recent blog, there are also smaller hidden gem cities hosting significant tech scenes. This, in combination with a low cost of living and a high volume of universities, creates the potential for even further growth. Smart Home and Smart Car companies should at least have the Southeast region on their radar for its market potential, even if they aren’t located there… yet.