Spark New Zealand will begin offering smart home security services later this year, with the beta launch of a new product this week.
Labelled Morepork, the product allows customers to control and monitor their homes remotely from their smartphones, representing the latest play from Spark Ventures following the launch of internet TV service Lightbox and smart data service Qrious.
According to the telco, it heralds a move into the rapidly emerging “smart living” market, presenting a smart alternative to traditional security and alarm systems.
In a sign of the potential it sees in this space, Spark has also appointed Gemma Croombs to the position of General Manager Smart Living – responsible for bringing to market smart home technologies with Morepork the first product to take flight.
Croombs says internationally most consumers start their journey to the Smart Home with a security product.
“We’re looking at how this market is developing globally and, as a digital services company, Spark naturally sits at the heart of a smart home because we have the mobile technology and the network to connect consumers to the things they love,” Croombs says.
The Consumer Electronics Association projects US sales of ‘smart energy’ and ‘smart security’ systems alone will total US$574 million this year, up 23 percent from 2014, making smart living one of the fastest growing consumer electronics categories globally.
“We know we are living in a world where it’s disrupt or be disrupted, so we’re developing a range of smart, useful products that make life easier for our customers,” Croombs adds.
“More than 70 percent of our customers now own a smartphone and this is estimated to grow to around 80-90 percent within a few years.
“New Zealanders are using their smartphones as the “remote control for life”, so it makes sense they will want to use an app to look after their homes.
“The ‘smart home’ took centre stage this year at both the Mobile World Congress and the Consumer Electronics Show, where 2015 was dubbed: ’The year to raise your home’s IQ’.”
Croombs says the product is named after the morepork, a native New Zealand owl.
“When we were looking at what to call the product, we learnt about the role the morepork, or rūrū, plays as the watchful guardian,” Croombs adds.
“This seemed the perfect symbol for a service that gives people peace of mind by watching over their homes when they are away.”
Details of the product are under wraps until the full commercial launch of Morepork later this year as Croombs says the beta stage is an important step in the final development of the product.