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requested some levels of exclusivity with this range, but we’re unable to do this as we prefer to provide access to all retailers that are able to support the technology. “We’ve already got retailers placing forecasts and orders with us and we’ve already had to significantly increase the production plan, even beyond our expectations. So we’re now expecting great things.” But is it a drawback to have a proprietary technology that won’t connect to other brands’ products? “Not really. We wanted to be the first to bring this market into the UK. We also wanted to deliver a bespoke system that brings out all the benefits and functions of our products, and we felt we could only do this at this stage with our own system. However, the view for the future is that Wizard appliances will be able to work in an open system. So consumers will have the choice to continue with the Wizard app or, alternatively, integrate as part of an open system with other appliances.”

TALKING BENEFITS

“In the future we want to allow the customer to download programmes that are best for them. We’re only at the beginning really, remote control is just the start of what’s possible.”

With washing machines already offering features such as Delay Start, ovens offering advanced programming and intelligent operation, cooker hoods that switch on automatically when odours and steam are detected and cooling appliances with dooropen signals and sensor-control technology, what additional benefits does the Wizard range bring? “This is something we are aiming a lot of our communications at, because some consumers may well have some of these thoughts. Some may be open to the technology but we do expect quite a number to pose some of these questions. So we’re going to be communicating clearly to consumers what the benefits are of connected appliances and the Wizard system.” Meyerowitz gives a comprehensive description of the benefits of Wizard, which are too numerous to report in the context of this article, but we’re looking at conveniences such as keeping the dinner warm if you’re going to be unexpectedly late home, or changing the time you want a wash load to start via remote control. Wizard will also send alerts to the consumer; for example, if the fridge door is open and the consumer is not in proximity to hear the audible alert from the fridge itself, and if the dishwasher needs a tablet or the

rinse aid topped up. Consumers will also be alerted when the appliances need simple maintenance such as clearing a blocked filter. But it’s not simply about the remote control and alerts, it’s the other advantages Wizard offers: households will be able to monitor the energy consumption of their appliances, which Meyerowitz says could offer “big savings”, as 60% of people aren’t aware of how much it costs to run their household appliances. “Another great thing is the service link,” he says. “The product will be registered on day one in order to be activated on the Wi-Fi system, so we know where the customer is if we ever need to contact them for modifications. We also have a Wizard guide on the app. It’s an onboard helper that offers perfect programming. It encourages the consumer to get the best out of their product; maybe try some programmes they don’t normally try. Customers only use one or two programmes on their washing machine but there are many others that will offer, say, energy savings, time savings and provide extra convenience. And the other thing is customisation, providing the customer with opportunities to make the product their own. In the future we want to allow the customer to download programmes that are best for them. We’re only at the beginning really, remote control is just the start of what’s possible.” So how does Meyerowitz see the future for the connected home shaping up? “We see great progress and lots of developments – things will move a lot faster. It’s the way to go. Is there a time when everything could be operated centrally from one device? I guess that’s likely to be the landing point for it. And I think there’s a lot we don’t know yet about the consumer and what programmes they frequently use.

COVER STORY

One of the things we’re hoping to understand is how consumers use their products. It’s not just about creating a central control over everything, it’s also a good way to learn how people use their products and to develop the products that consumers want.” The UK market is expected to be around 12 million appliances in 2016, so Meyerowitz sees this as a great opportunity. “We’re working to make everything we make connected by 2017. We really want to be at the front to see how the consumer regards Wi-Fi appliances generally.”

HAVE WE PEAKED?

Hoover Candy has promoted itself as “champion” of large load appliances, and its new product launches are confirmation of its design and manufacturing competence in this area, but how much further can capacities be expanded? “The key thing is not to move outside of the standard footprint, because once you do that it creates a number of difficulties,” says Meyerowitz. “The standard load was around 4.5kg when I began in this industry, today we have 13kg. But the capacity needs to be usable. For example, in washing machines we bundle large capacity with our All in One technology so consumers can wash all types of light and dark fabrics and natural and synthetic fibres together, without having to separate them into different loads. “So, as to how far it can go: it’s not about just capacity, we need to deliver all the other measures too – energy efficiency, performance, time savings, convenience. It’s not just about big; it’s about accessibility and usability for the consumer.” With intelligent sensor control incorporated in all product categories and refined internal layouts and resource efficiencies, what could the next technical advances possibly be? Is there anywhere else to go in terms of efficiencies? “I don’t think we can ever say we’ve reached a peak, improvements seem to be accelerating: lower and lower energy levels and more features, but it’s through connectivity that consumers can really take things to the next level. Energy efficiency through programme choice, the ability to download your own programmes, programme sharing with family members, convenience through

things like voice activation. And the next version of the Wizard app will include fault finding, so we can monitor the performance of the machine and if it’s not performing right we can contact the customer. We can offer excellent after sales service to the customer by basically pre-empting their concerns.” Meyerowitz asserts that “there’s lots to come” – products will continue to become better and better and more efficient, “and with connectivity we can take a giant step now and advance to the next level.”

AT THE COALFACE

Speaking about the retail market in the UK and consumers’ shift in buying patterns, Meyerowitz says: “We’re pretty clear that consumers continue to reference both high street stores and online stores during their journey to purchase. We believe that retailers, whether physical stores or online, have ranges that are relevant to today’s consumers, and as long as the business model is sustainable for the retailer then there is no reason why they can’t work happily together. “We believe that when consumers shop in store they need to see something different, something interesting that will engage them. We’ve got the technologies. Wizard is an example of that, and one that does need some explanation. We’re comfortable that connectivity will provide additional opportunities for retailers, including the independents. We’re already talking to retailers about the benefits of changing technology. Wizard is ideal because what we’re looking for is partners that can explain the benefits, demonstrate the products and when it comes to fulfilment, deliver to the customer’s home and, ideally, set the product up for them so they can use it immediately. I think it’s an ideal opportunity for the independents.”

ONWARD AND UPWARD…

So what’s in store for the Hoover Candy Group in the foreseeable future? “Continuing our journey of sustained growth, a little bit more each year, and our main tool for that is innovation. We invest the largest proportion of our sales in R&D, proportionately more than any other manufacturer, and we believe this will give us the confidence to deliver great technologies for our retailers.” And the end goal is: “Consumers can get great products and our retail partners can have healthy profits.” AUGUST 2015 GET CONNECTED

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Profile for Get Connected Magazine

Get Connected Magazine - August 2015  

INSIDE: 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 12 Cover Story 14 Town & Apartment Living Creating a functional, un-clut...

Get Connected Magazine - August 2015  

INSIDE: 04 Editorial Comment 06 The Word In and around the industry 12 Cover Story 14 Town & Apartment Living Creating a functional, un-clut...