The next big battleground for the major tech players seems to be the home. Google has its eyes on that prize with the purchase of Nest, companies like GE and Cisco are betting big on the internet of things and, closer to home, Spark's Digilife offer is gunning for the early adopters. And Samsung is also hoping to capitalise on this evolution, with a clever experiential activation called Home Smart Home set to launch in Auckland soon that aims to show how some of its products can fit into the homes of the future—and help make life easier.
Samsung is well-known for its mobile products and smart TVs, but it's also a big player in the home appliances market and it's done plenty of work promoting that aspect of its business in New Zealand in recent years. Throughout this year it will be launching a range of new products, including TVs, home audio, refrigeration, heatpumps, vacuum cleaners, ovens, microwaves, washers and dryers. And the Home Smart Home project, a concept home that's made up of movable, hinged pods that can be reshaped for different situations, will show some of them off.
“We’ve collaborated with some of New Zealand’s top architects [Jasmax], engineers [Holmes Group] and designers to build a house that echoes the Samsung design philosophy and takes into account the constant change of our modern lives,” says Mike Cornwell, Samsung Electronics' marketing director. “The collaboration created a home that can be transformed and configured to make any Kiwi occasion better. Using simple modular components, the walls, windows, floors and fittings will be rearranged to create completely different spaces for everything from a bustling cocktail party to a romantic candle-lit dinner.”
There's no substitute for real experiences, as ColensoBBDO's Neville Doyle wrote recently, and experiential activations that can be shared through digital channels are becoming increasingly popular here and around the world. Punters can book in for a simple tour of the home, but Samsung is also offering the chance for a select few who register online to host complimentary events that they can share with family and friends, just as they would in their own homes. And, whether it's a dinner party or a movie night, the house can be tailored to their needs.
It took NZ Strong ten weeks to build off site and it will be transferred fully assembled at Wynyard Quarter over two days. It will be open to the public from Saturday October 4 through to October 21, with events taking place throughout.
Ben Slater wrote an interesting piece on his experiments with smart home technology—and some of the difficulties he faced trying to get the machines talking to each other and reacting to data. Some of the options, like Philips Hue lighting systems, or an internet-connected fridge that tells you when you're running out of milk, are cool but fairly unnecessary, whereas some of the efficiency gains to be made from smart energy systems like Nest (it's now offering a smart smoke alarm) are more worthwhile.
“People are looking for smart devices that keep pace with modern living. Smart isn’t just about technology, it’s about making life easier and creating more time to do the things we love with the people we love," says Cornwell. "It’s about having a few more minutes to spend with the kids, the chance to share a meal with friends, or to enjoy a lazy afternoon on the couch. This is the philosophy behind Samsung’s product development and the inspiration for Home Smart Home."