Are UK Consumers Ready for Smart Technology?

With more than half of consumers stating that they have no intention to buy a smart home improvement product, we ask, should you?

Smart technology is a growing market but still isn’t fully established. According to the latest connected home survey by professional services giant PWC, 30% of people in the UK are planning on buying a smart device for their home in the next two years.

This represents more than double those who were planning a similar purchase in their last poll, with 14% voting yes in 2016. The market is already big, forecast to top £10.8bn this year, but there is a ‘but’.


Smart entertainment devices continue to dominate with purchases of other smart home improvements far lower. Smart doorbells are currently owned by a little more than 10% of respondents, with 44% stating they had no intention to purchase one.

Smart home security devices faired a little better but still delivered poor performance in the poll, with ownership at 12%.

The generally low interest in smart home improvements is muted by the authors of the report who said: “Despite these advances of technology in our daily lives, it seems the majority of consumers (52%) still have no plans to invest in connected home technology.”

Kubu Smart Hardware

This appears at first glance at odds with the hiatus that surrounds smart products within the window and door industry, but that’s at ‘first glance’.

John Leary, sales director at Emplas, said: “Connected home improvements deliver a raft of benefits to the end-user. The retail potential is massive, it’s only a question of getting the end-user over the line.

“To do that, the simplicity of the offer is key. We need to make it easy for the end-user- and the installer. That’s why we’re partnering with Avantis & Kubu and are offering our new smart hardware system as standard across our composite and uPVC door ranges.”

Kubu Smart Hardware

At face value, the Kubu/Avantis lock appears the same as any other high-performance multi-point locking mechanism. The lock comes with a smart sensor. Supplied as standard for use with the optional Kubu smart module, it gives retailers the opportunity to pitch a smart prepped door to the homeowner at no extra cost to their business, or to sell the upgraded smart connected product.

John continued: “Either way, you’re getting the opportunity to upsell and distinct commercial messaging at no extra cost. If the homeowner isn’t ready to buy a smart product, you can position the Kubu hardware system as pre-prepped for it.

“Alternatively, you can sell-up to the complete Kubu smart offer. A third route is to give the end-user the option to purchase the Kubu module later.”

Kubu Smart Hardware

The homeowner can upgrade from a standard multi-point locking system by inserting the Kubu battery-powered module, with no wiring or additional work required.

This can then be linked to a mobile phone or tablet, giving the homeowner complete visibility of the status of their locks in real-time through an app. Easy to set up, Kubu also works with other smart devices, including Alexa.

As soon as they disconnect from their home’s wi-fi without locking the door, they will trigger a notification.

John said: “It’s a simple proposition but one which works for the installers at the point of retail and ultimately for the end-user through the flexibility it provides and becomes of its affordability.”

Kubu Smart Hardware

This is a key point highlighted by the authors of the survey who point to the perceived complexity of connected home devices, as well as the actual benefits compared to the financial investment required to deliver them as a major barrier to market growth.

John added: “The take-up figures surrounding Smart home improvements to date can be argued as a positive for those installers who are early adopters- the market is far from saturated and in the window and door industry, that’s the exception to the rule.

“If you look in detail at the PWC report, findings actually show that more than a third of UK homeowners intend to invest in Smart home security within five years. That’s a very sizeable potential market and highlights end-user demand for smart home security solutions.

“Products which are pre-prepped and primed to be upgraded to offer smart home security features can be expected to appeal to end-users now, even if they don’t enable the full functionality of those platforms until later.

“The uptake of smart devices among other consumers is another positive area. Kubu provides a sales platform for your customers today- but also tomorrow.”

Composite Doors

Putting smart to one side, Emplas in June relaunched its composite door offer. As well as being supplied with the Kubu Smart locking system and smart sensor as standard, the door features an industry-leading slab with 4mm thick impact-resistant skin and LVL subframe.

The high-density insulative foam core means that it delivers leading U-values as low as 0.9 W/m2k. The composite doors are supplied to PAS24 standards with a Secured by Design Option, with laminate glass and dedicated letterplate. This door also uses a dry and re-glazeable cassette should the glass need to be replaced. This means that silicone isn’t required when carrying out any remedial work or change of glass, making the door easier to service.

John concluded: “The new composite lifts our door offer on a number of different levels. Kubu and smart hardware as standard is one but we also see the dry-glazing cassette as another major advantage to installers, cutting time on site.

“The most important thing is the simplicity of the message to the end-user. ‘Buy this door, or buy this other one which future proofs your purchase and which you can upgrade now, or later to a smart technology.”

For more information on the Kubu smart lock or our composite door range, you can contact Emplas on 01933 674 880 or fill out our online contact form.

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