By Mark Tullis | Posted - Jan 8th, 2024

 

 

 

 

OliverIQ Debuts Industry’s First Complete Smart Home as a Service Company at CES 2024

At the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week, OliverIQ announced the official launch of their groundbreaking Smart Home as a Service (SHaaS) platform. The launch heralds a new era in the smart home by offering a subscription model with unlimited support and a user-friendly app for control and real automation of today’s most popular smart home devices.

Oliver integrates hardware products in its SHaaS platform including lighting, security, doorbell, thermostat, and smart speakers. “All the basic systems in your house can work together to make your life better whether you want security, comfort, energy savings, or convenience,” explains Eric Smith, Co-founder and CTO of the company. 

Partnering with national and global service providers, OliverIQ aims to scale their SHaaS platform rapidly, offering comprehensive product support, unlimited online and phone support, in-home assistance, and security system monitoring. This model makes OliverIQ's SHaaS platform the first-of-its-kind solution that simplifies smart home device interoperability for the consumer. By uniting various connected devices through the OliverIQ software which will be embedded either in common household devices such as routers, set top boxes, or the OliverIQ hub, along with a single, easy-to-use application backed by round-the-clock technical support, OliverIQ will bring a reimagined and completely accessible smart home to the market.

“Until now, no one company has been able to integrate and support the entire spectrum of smart home devices. OliverIQ helps its partners fill the gaps, becoming full-service home automation heroes in the eyes of their customers," said Will West, Co-Founder and CEO of OliverIQ.

No stranger to smart home automation, West founded and co-founded a number of successful companies over the last two decades, including PHAST, which he and OliverIQ Founder Eric Smith founded in 1995. PHAST is broadly recognized as having developed the first home control system with an intuitive interface for programming and daily use. 

In 1998, West and Smith co-founded iBAHN (then called STSN), an early Utah tech company that offered broadband services for business travelers in thousands of hotels worldwide. 

In 2003, the pair co-founded Control4, which became the first company to make whole-home automation a practical option for any residence, providing one-touch control of both new and existing electronic systems. Glen Mella served as President and COO of Control4 and has joined the OliverIQ team as Chief Revenue Officer.

Smith showed OliverIQ to TechBuzz and described it as an app to control everything in a home—"a single app to rule them all, so to speak."

He added, "What's also cool about our platform is that by default we show you all the devices in your system based on what you have in your home, and how it can play it. It can then recommend what we call 'experiences,' or use-cases of the platform that can automate and control a home to optimize for energy savings, security, protection from water damage and a long list of other cases. For example, at sunrise and sunset, Smith said, "our app can turn your porch lights on when the sun sets and off when it sunrises." 

Smith demonstrated how the app can reduce energy costs by using timers, sensors, beacons (like a smartwatch), or even wifi disturbances to detect if someone is in a room and turn on and off lights accordingly, such as a pantry or basement, after a person has left it. Among other things, one use case that resonated with TechBuzz especially is the app's ability to incorporate water sensors and a water valve to automatically turn off a home's water should a pipe burst and cause flooding—a most dreaded problem, especially if no one is at home to deal with it.

OliverIQ's business model is B2B; it partners with national and global service providers that work directly with consumer that will be announced in the coming weeks. "Our model here is that our partners would be offering this to their consumers, added Mella, building on his previous experience at smart home automation with Smith and West. "Its the platform that they're going to use, both for the consumer's experience as well as to provide remote monitoring and support."

Building on the lessoned learned from their experience in home automation, the OliverIQ team have identified three options consumers have for constructing a smart home:

  1. Hire a professional integrator to create a custom system, with costs starting in the mid-5 figures.
  2. Install a home security system that can integrate with a limited selection of other connected devices—more smart access than smart home.”
  3. Pour endless hours into building it yourself out of an ever-growing assortment of DIY connected devices.

The DIY smart home sector is both the largest and the most troubled, according to the Oliver team. Consumers are overwhelmed with the sheer number of connected devices in their homes, each requiring its own distinct application for management. Managing DIY connected devices individually is annoying. Getting them to work together is nearly impossible. And, even if a consumer manages the impossible, something breaks.

Smart home decay is inevitable: wear and tear, battery death, firmware updates, etc. cause devices to suddenly and unpredictably stop working together. Connected devices have an average lifespan of 6-8 years, but there are so many of them in the average home, and there are so many software updates by manufacturers, that devices and connections between devices go offline regularly. You’re never done setting up a smart home – it must be constantly maintained. This complexity is way beyond the capability and desire of typical consumers to manage.

OliverIQ’s SHaaS solution offers the technical service and support homeowners have always needed to build, program, and maintain a truly smart home. Support is ongoing, not a one-and-done install, so smart home functionality doesn’t degrade over time. This is affordable, complete smart home support for everyone.

"With OliverIQ, we're breaking down the barriers in the smart home," said Smith. "Our platform is designed to bring the convenience and lifestyle of a fully automated home to a broader audience at an affordable price point, with at-your-service technical support."

The SHaaS model addresses the complexities and maintenance challenges typically associated with smart home setups. Consumers no longer need to navigate the cumbersome process of integrating multiple devices or managing ongoing maintenance. OliverIQ handles everything from initial setup, automation, software updates, to troubleshooting—all managed seamlessly through their intuitive app. Homeowners get unlimited technical support calls, as well as access to OliverIQ’s comprehensive Knowledge Center. Consumers get one, trusted number to call for help with any connected device.

OliverIQ’s technical support teams can offer guidance remotely via a phone or computer screen, and perform remote device takeovers to troubleshoot issues for the homeowner. If a problem cannot be solved through remote technical support, the service provider can deliver low-cost in-person service, with the cost of the initial visit applied towards any required repairs. OliverIQ operates on a subscription-based business model that is paid through the service provider. OliverIQ communicates with the connected devices in the home through a multi-protocol platform, which can be embedded in the service provider’s router, cable box, or other devices. OliverIQ will also offer a sub-$100 standalone multi-protocol hub that can be added into home systems where another hardware device for embedding OliverIQ is not present.

“There has never before been a provider with the expertise to succeed at integration, and the scale to succeed at support," stated West.

Having a set of smart devices across your home doesn’t necessarily make it a smart home, but having a set of interconnected smart devices does. Integrating connected devices so that they work together is a significant technical challenge. The modern connected home needs an IT department. There are dozens of RF standards and protocols, including WiFi, Bluetooth, Thread, Matter, Z-Wave, Zigbee, etc., as well as proprietary ecosystems. Some manufacturers intentionally build walled gardens, aiming to lock consumers into their device ecosystems. Smart home automation requires integrating new and existing devices regardless of RF technology or manufacturer. With OliverIQ embedded in an ISP’s router or with the OliverIQ multi-protocol hub, the OliverIQ app can communicate with over 90% of the most popular off-the-shelf smart devices in the market today.

Through their service provider partners, OliverIQ is building the scale to support homes nationwide. Service has always been the crucial missing piece for a successful smart home experience. OliverIQ is partnering with regional and national providers that can provide virtual and in-home support. This scale keeps per-customer costs low, finally making home automation an affordable option for everyone.

With OliverIQ, service providers bring their customers ease, convenience, and security. They enable homeowners to remotely accept in-home deliveries and services. They give them one number to call whenever they need help with their connected devices.

“We’re creating sticky relationships between homeowners and services providers," said West.

“Customers won’t give up their smart home for a slightly lower monthly Internet bill. With OliverIQ, today’s leading in-home service providers have a powerful platform for selling, servicing, and delivering high-demand solutions throughout today’s connected homes.”

OliverIQ's launch at CES 2024 demonstrates its commitment to innovation, customer satisfaction, and ease of use. The platform is set to transform how homeowners interact with smart technology, making it a hassle-free, enjoyable part of everyday life. OliverIQ is currently in beta with select partners in the U.S. and will be in market by Q2 2024. OliverIQ will be sold as a subscription model through ISPs, home center retailers, security providers, and builders.

The name, OliverIQ, comes from Oliver Wendell Holmes who once said, “For the simplicity on this side of complexity, I wouldn't give you a fig. But for the simplicity on the other side of complexity, for that I would give you anything I have.”

For more information about OliverIQ and its new SHaaS platform, visit OliverIQ at CES booth #51932 in the Venetian Expo or at oliveriq.com.

Photo credit: Robert Bishop

 
Mark Tullis
About the Author

Mark Tullis - Mark is Co-founder and Editor of TechBuzz News. Born and raised in Ogden, Utah, Mark attended Weber State, Brigham Young, and Tufts Universities. He has been involved in tech, media, publishing and education since the 1980s. He enjoys spending time with his family, hiking, and playing the saxophone.

 

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