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The rise of the Internet of Things (IoT) promises a brave new world of connected devices, smart cities and homes, and ultimately better living. According to technology research firm TechNavio, the number of connected devices is expected to pass 17 billion in the next five years. The ability of devices to connect to each other and feed important information back to us should lay the path for a smarter, more holistic way of managing and interacting with our environments, where continual improvements and efficiencies can be gained.

New IoT technologies are emerging which enable quick and easy personalistion of energy management and lighting settings, either through devices in the home or remotely, via apps on a smart phone. This means that switching lights on and off, controlling shutters, adjusting temepratures and even security management is no longer restricted to on-site push-buttons or touch panels. Home management systems now act as self-learning tools that note the behaviour of occupants and adjust environments accordingly, bringing a new level of comfort to living spaces while reducing electricity and fuel costs.

The simplicity of IoT provides the opportunity for electrical installers to grow their business by moving into areas which were previously mystified or seen as overly complicated. Taking smart heating controls again as an example which allow an electrician to upgrade residential heating controls system and have it operational and connected to the internet within 15 minutes. We are seeing an increase in intuitive products signifying that the days of time consuming and complicated installations are gone.

The IoT is revolutionising what homes can do for their owners. Architects, engineers and electricians are bringing connectivity to homes through the latest solutions. These technologies connect a wide variety of devices, allowing home owners to control everything from lighting and temperature to entertainment systems — to create a perfect environment for every moment. They let us monitor and manage our homes to maximise energy efficiency and lower energy bills, either locally or remotely. By embracing the IoT to make homes safer and more comfortable — by enabling connected, smart spaces — it is helping people achieve a quality of life that wasn’t possible just a few years ago. It’s an exciting time for electrical installers as the proliferation of the IoT promises greater innovation. To stay ahead of the competition, installers will need comprehensive knowledge of how the IoT is transforming the sector to identify extra business opportunities, thus strengthening the industry as a whole.

By Marc Gaunt, marketing manager, Schneider Electric