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Project topic and aim

Smart at home and with your business: Disruptive changes from traditional B-to-B to B-to-B-to-C relations in a smart home ecosystem.

How can producers and suppliers of products and services to Smart Homes develop new digital business models, customer relations, strategy and management, and find a new role in the digital ecosystem?

The project aims to develop knowledge and tools to assist producers and suppliers to Smart Homes in developing digital business models, new sales and marketing strategies, management and finding a new role in a digital ecosystem. The ambition is to strengthen SMVs in the Danish building and Smart Home industries.

Target Group

Ten SMVs will be invited to participate in the project: five from the Smart Home market and five from the traditional market. The project is designed as a learning process for the participating companies. They will be active partners in the research activities, and based on the data findings, they will get individual feedback and recommendations from the researchers.

The sector in question and the Danish business community will be introduced to the results of the sector surveys, describing the Smart Home market and the level of digital maturity of Danish SMVs in the building/Smart Home sectors, including self-assessment tools and recommendations on strategic actions.

Main activities

The project has four main activities benefitting both the ten companies in the project and the business community at large:

  • A learning process for ten SMVs in the Smart Home market
  • Two national surveys of the Smart Home market and the digital maturity of supplier and producer companies
  • A number of proactive and innovative communication activities will create impact and attention
  • Research and educational activities

Main questions to investigate include:

  • Are the companies in the Smart Home sector equipped to deal with direct contact with end users and change their role from B2B to B2C&C?
  • Do the companies have the right competences to handle vast amounts of digital customer data and to transform these into new innovative solutions and products?
  • How does the management team define their future business models and company strategies?

Smart Home users/customers’ experience and expectations

Here we want to investigate how digitalisation and new customer touchpoints are changing the role of the traditional B-to-B supplier:

  • Interviews with users of the ten SMVs’ Smart Home solutions
  • Analysis of in-house customer data on user behaviour, etc.

Based on these analyses, the ten SMVs will get individual reports on user experience, behaviour and expectations to their Smart Home solutions. The research team will give the companies recommendations on how to strengthen their customer relations, develop new services and in general strengthen their digital business model.

Based on the input mentioned above, a national survey will be developed and sent out to 1,000 users of Smart Home solutions. The aim of this large survey is to map the Smart Home market. The survey will result in a report to be presented to the general business community through media and a final conference.

Digital maturity of Smart Home Suppliers

Here the research team investigates the digital maturity of the ten SMVs and of 1,000 suppliers.

Tolls will be:

  • Interviews with the 10 companies
  • Analysis of the digital use in the companies
  • A national survey of 1,000 Danish companies in the Smart Home sector

Core questions for each company will include:

Mapping of customer relations and touchpoints both in B2B and B2C – how will these change in a digital market?

  • What is the level of the general digital maturity?
  • How does the company see the future digital products and business model
  • How will the future management and organisation look like and what changes are expected?

The research activities will result in

  • Individual reports for the ten SMVs describing their digital maturity, including recommendations for strategic actions to improve this
  • A national report describing the digital maturity of Danish companies in the Smart Home sector
  • A printed guidebook for Danish SMVs
  • A self-assessment app for Danish SMVs.

Communication to create impact and attention

An initial analysis will be made to map the most important stakeholders and media; also a proactive and innovative communication plan will be developed.

As for now we see four main stakeholders and potential communication activities:

  • The ten SMVs participating in the project: a virtual community, webinars, skype group meetings, Cloud file sharing, workshops, meetings, reports.
  • Companies in the Smart Home sector: web, press, video reportages, podcast series, printed guidebook, app, conference.
  • The general Danish business community: as above
  • The research and educational community: open access publications, executive pilot course, Master of It and Master in Digital Innovation.

Performance Targets

  • The ten participating companies have developed digital strategies and action plans
  • Strong partnerships have been developed with core stakeholders of the Smart Home sector
  • 2,000 questionnaires have been sent out to users and suppliers of Smart Home solutions. High response rate.
  • 200 business managers from the sector have participated in the conference
  • Companies have used the self-assessment app.
  • 3 research articles have been compiled for publication in leading academic journals
  • 20 business leaders have participated in the pilot executive course “Digital Ecosystem and Business Models for the Smart Home Industry”.
  • The results of the project have been incorporated into the curricula of the Master Program of Digital Transformation and the Master of IT at Aarhus University. 

Project assessment and evaluation

Which changes does the applicant intend to achieve with the project's activities in the short and long term?

We know from research and our cooperation with a large number of companies, that many Danish SMVs – and especially those in the manufacturing B2B sector – have either not yet developed a digital business model or strategy OR are struggling with the new user demands, new competitors and business models distrupting the market. The Smart Home is a good example of this development as it covers a broad range of sectors, producers and suppliers.

In the short term, we intend to gain new knowledge and raise awareness about the many challenges and opportunities in the Smart Home market. The aim is to launch an innovation process in the companies in this market and thus strengthen the competitiveness of the many SMVs that today see themselves as B2B producers and suppliers to homes.

In the longer term, we aim to strengthen to the competitiveness of Danish companies in this field by developing a new generation of digital leaders.

What Impact will the project have on the different target groups and how will the project be evaluated and the results assessed?

Our evaluation strategy will focus on the listed Performance Targets. These will be reviewed by an external evaluator and the result will be assessed with regard to the resources and ambition of the project.