I had never met anyone from Cyprus, the tiny island in the Mediterranean Sea tucked below Turkey and above Egypt, where the spoken language is Greek. So, when I set up a call with the founder of a new Internet of Things (IoT) review website that was created there, I wasn’t sure what to expect.
No need to worry. Talking to Nicos Panteli, the co-founder and developer of Qioto (www.qioto.com), was not much different from chats over the years other smart, engaging members of the CEDIA integrator community. Panteli told me that he’s been in the business for six years and that because of the diminutive size of his country, he’d become of a custom integration jack of all trades (design engineer, salesman, programmer…) And, as a way to keep up with ever-changing technology trends over the years, he kept a list of “smart home” products (DIY and professional) that he had installed or researched, recording pros and cons of each one, and physically testing what he could get his hands on. The list was divided up into categories (Automation, Cameras, Climate Control, Door Looks, etc.), and in recent years was filling up with more and more DIY products. After three years, the list was huge.
So, with the help of co-founder Stavros Azar and two content contributors, Panteli began designing the Qioto website to house all of his research. It would include both DIY options (think SmartThings, Wink, Amazon Echo, and Nest) as well as certain entry-level pro options (think Crestron Pyng, Lutron HomeWorks, and Savant Remote) in one place.
The feeling was that if he could help educate consumers about the benefits and limitations of DIY smart home products and also introduce them to pro-level products and the professionals that are available to install them, he not only would be serving his own interests but that of other pros as well.
“If you’re building a house with technology in it, the first place you go to do your research is online. Unfortunately, most people don’t know that integrators exist until they’re referred to them by their architect or builder,” Panteli noted. “During online searches, consumers usually find DIY products first, which is not fair because not all people want to do DIY. Some people want to have people install technology for them. I thought it would be reasonable to have everything in one place–the pro products and the DIY products–for someone looking for budget products, high-end products, or something in between.”
I found the site to be a great resource, with its simple “discovery” style platform, and easy-to-understand descriptions and product “lifestyle” photos. It’s a tough market to keep up with, so last month, he and his team began sharing their blogs with www.residentialsystems.com to provide insights into new products or technology trends and offer comparisons between similar products on their site.
And in case you thought that “Qioto” was the Greek word for “technology,” the website’s name actually stands for Quality Internet of Things Online.