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CONNECTIONS Speaker Highlight - Shelly Group

Wolfgang Kirsch, CEO, Shelly is sharing his insights on the major energy investments at Parks Associates' CONNECTIONS in-person conference.

Wolfgang will be sharing more insights at CONNECTIONS on May 7, 2024 at 3:45 PM in the panel "Major Energy Investments: Transforming the Experience." Join us for the 28th annual event here!

Looking ahead, what projects or developments in connected living are you particularly excited about this year, and why?

We are excited about the full spectrum of the IoT world – from buildings, both commercial and residential to making appliances smart with our Shelly solution. In the recent years, facilities are leaning heavily towards smart solutions. They seek to solve the same problems and tweak the same efficiencies as that of homes and they realise, that they need intelligent solutions to fulfill their ESG goals. Better data collection and energy measurement for better decision-making, and greener and cleaner consumption of non-renewable energy are some of the areas of Shelly’s focus in terms of smart buildings. We are also interested in how versatile the IoT technology could be in terms of using specific components in many different appliances and providing them with smart features. Our own Shelly chip is an example of that. It is a zero-code, cloud-independent platform for smart connected appliances that enables users to build new smart device or retrofit an existing product in less time and at a lower cost.

What strategies do you recommend for businesses to navigate the complexities of the connected home market and stay ahead of the competition?

It is important to have a strict planning and to stick to it. It is essential to make sure that you promise and deliver, as both consumers and investors will keep you accountable if you don’t do as promised. When it comes to innovations, we always listen to the needs of our customers and partners. They are our constant source of inspiration and making sure that we address their demands, is one of the key factors that makes Shelly an innovative company, and not a brand that follows the trends. Shelly Group is also known for its well-established approach of localizing key products to different regions. For example, we constantly expand our Z-Wave range to answer the growing needs of our customers in the USA, UK and Australia.

Collaboration is key in driving innovation. Can you discuss some successful partnerships or alliances that have accelerated the adoption of connected home technologies and enhanced consumer engagement?

We are extremely happy that within months we officially announced several key partnerships that not only signify our growth, but also affirm Shelly’s commitment to innovation.

Recently, we implemented our Shelly Smart Control App in selected Audi models. Shelly Smart Control app based on the Android Automotive OS is now available in the Audi Application Store, providing customers with user-friendly range of functions for intelligent home automation intuitively via the familiar user interface of their vehicle's infotainment system. This partnership results in enabling car owners to execute all their automations included in Shelly Smart Control app directly from the comfort of their car, for example, to automatically open and close the garage door, to switch on the lights in the garage, in other rooms or throughout the house when coming home or leaving the house.

Shelly also completed SmartThings certification of Wave Plug US and Wave Plug UK. This is another significant step for the company in offering effortless IoT experience with Samsung and SmartThings ecosystem and expanding the reach of its latest products to millions of users across the globe. Adding Wave Plug US into the SmartThings ecosystem provides unique integration opportunities for the users. This is just the beginning of certifying most of our portfolio to enable the promotion of our leading devices to millions of consumers across Samsung’s IoT platform.

We are also partnering with companies in the photovoltaic sector, such as Zendure, one of the global leaders in providing reliable and affordable balcony solar systems. With the implementation of our products, we help the users reduce their energy expenses and consumption in total while being cost-effective. Shelly also provides important real-time information that is crucial for enabling corporations to fulfil their ESG reporting and achieve their ESG goals. Corporations are also increasingly interested in monitoring energy and heat efficiency. Our partnership with Vodacom, the African subsidiary of Vodafone, is a great example for that. Vodacom measures and monitors energy consumption at all its sites in Africa with the help of our Shelly Pro 3EM. This provides Vodacom with important real-time information on a central platform for further processing and analysis.

What are the biggest challenges facing businesses in the IoT industry, and how can they be overcome to unlock the full potential of connected living?

More than ever, we witness a great emphasis on privacy, security, sustainability, and transparency. Answering that growing demand is one of our challenges.

There are many regulation initiatives driven mostly by the European Union that require companies to update their products and practices for compliance as these regulations enter into effect. Security breaches are also a challenge that requires stricter measures that lead to longer IoT development timelines. As a result, we are implementing stricter security measures and conducting more thorough security testing throughout the development process which may prolong our time to market but also leads to more secure products and higher customer satisfaction. Another challenge is the growing need of more and different connectivity protocols of the devices. Thus, leads to creating multiprotocol devices that are not limited to just a few communicational standards, but rather be as versatile as possible to serve different needs and ecosystems.  The combination of Bluetooth and Wifi in one device is only the first step here.

As a leader in the industry, what trends do you foresee shaping the future of connected living in the next 5 years?

The adoption of IoT is expected to increase in many industries such as the security and privacy sector. We have witnessed an increase in AI-powered cyber-attacks and ensuring that devices, private and commercial properties are kept secure is a key trend. Sustainable IoT is also a great priority in terms of achieving circular economy and enabling energy measurement. Another trend that we are currently witnessing is cross-platform integration. Seamless integration and synergy between different platforms and ecosystems are becoming more and more essential for providing interconnected living experiences, and those trends will become more prominent in the next years to come.

Reflecting on your career journey, what has been a standout moment or achievement that you're especially proud of?

I have worked a very long time in consumer electronic retail and helped to build up the leading European consumer electronic retailer. The journey from 1 bn Euro to 22 bn Euro revenue was a great achievement as well as making thе company very international by expancing the group from 1 to 14 countries. Now I enjoy forming Shelly Group towards a very unique place.

What advice would you offer to up-and-coming professionals aspiring to make their mark in the connected home and digital living industries, based on your own experiences and insights?

Allways listen to what your customer wants. Make products effordable for everyone, help reducing the energy consumption in private households and companies. Smart home is no longer just convenient. It can help to make the world a better place.

What are you excited most about to discuss during CONNECTIONS?

I love to learn more about the different views of industry leaders, to see what they are doing better than we and implement good ideas fast in Shelly Group.

Continue the conversation with Wolfgang and other industry leaders during CONNECTIONS: The Premier Smart Home Conference on May 7-9, 2024, in Dallas, TX. Don’t miss insights and business forecasting on the adoption of technology including broadband, smart home, security, connected health, energy, and home automation. Explore the event agenda and register at www.connectionsus.com!

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