VIP Event Reception at HAUS
Sometimes, being savvy enough to feel the shift or sense the coming boom in the marketplace very early on changes everything. So three years ago, when home automation industry veterans David Daniels, Mike Thul, and John Carlen saw an opening and opportunity in the broad market for home automation, they took action. In fact, they built a HAUS.
The new member-driven organization, located south of the Denver Tech Center, is the first in consumer electronics to focus on training and on helping dealers grow and prosper in the home automation market.
HAUS co-founder/CEO Daniels, who also is a co-founder/CEO of the residential technology services company, Xssentials and numerous development ventures, credits the rise of the smart home/home automation and move toward IOT for the idea.
“There are a hundred million broadband households in the U.S. and 60 million of them want to make their homes smarter,” Daniels said. “Given that, we knew that the time was now and that the opportunity to have smarter homes across this broad middle market—the 55-percent in the three middle quintiles of household income, generally from $60,000 to $250,000—was the biggest thing in consumer electronics. And we realized that to be able to compete in that space, dealers needed to look differently at how to market, sell, and install with exceptional customer experience.”
Groundfloor view of HAUS Social Core
Before building its campus, the HAUS team devoted a year to conducting market studies and engaging focus groups with both dealers and consumers in that middle market, to understand their needs, the dealers’ pain points, and the buying attributes of the broad market customer.
“We really studied the problems dealers encounter in their abilities to grow and take advantage of this market,” Daniels said. “We looked at how to train their staff members to be the exceptional experience companies they would have to be in order to succeed.”
The consumer electronics industry has never had a place for dealers to go for training, business resources and tools, and for the support mechanisms to help them; they were always building these elements themselves,” Daniels added. “That’s what gave us the impetus for HAUS. We realized there was a way to give these dealers the competitive advantage they needed.”
The result is a new, 25,000-square-foot campus, an architecturally stunning facility with clean design lines and an open feel. The environment is that of an academic, adult learning center combined with a relaxed, community space that invites peer-to-peer conversation and collaboration.
The space features a hands-on technical lab, two interactive training rooms, dedicated vendor/partner pods (with Savant and Sonos as the first two vendor partners), a fully equipped and staffed video studio, and, this being Colorado, two local beers on tap in addition to a complete kitchen. Some 52 Sony digital displays are mounted throughout the campus, including one in a small, “House in the HAUS” showcase—a space that reflects the typical entertainment room in an end-user’s home. In addition, the HAUS technology lab is described as a “sandbox of sorts” in which to work with curated vendor products.
Why Savant Got Involved. When HAUS approached Savant to become one of its first two vendor/partners the opportunity was welcomed.
View of the HAUS Social Core from the loft
“At Savant, customer experience is of utmost importance to us, and HAUS is focused on empowering their members to create great experiences for end-users,” said Tim McInerney, Savant’s director of product marketing.
Much of the training we see today from manufacturers is only technically minded, he noted, but the HAUS industry level training provides a full suite geared toward the customer experience and that idea was intriguing.
“While we could provide that type of training solely for our own products, an individual party like HAUS is able to bring together multiple leading manufacturers, such as Savant and Sonos, under one umbrella,” McInerney added. “Members will be trained on how devices work best together as a package to create repeatable, meaningful customer experiences that will help drive future referral business.”
Savant will have a presence at HAUS by way of a dedicated Savant pod at the HAUS facility. “This is a great partnership and there are obvious benefits for all parties,” he said. “For us, it’s great to have a team of proven field experts working on business training for our products. Through HAUS, their programs also benefit the industry as a whole by helping their members create more highly satisfied home automation customers.”
McInerney noted that his company has never before seen this kind of opportunity. “Others have taken different approaches to these challenges but HAUS is poised to succeed because of their focus on the end customer and their own members’ business success."
For Members Only. HAUS’s club-like atmosphere reflects its member-driven approach, geared to give home installation providers the tools and resources to grow their businesses through in-person classes, online courses, and certification. In addition, continuous support is offered through digital libraries and online guidance, buoyed by a staffed HAUS call center.
David Daniels teaching in a HAUS classroom
A tiered membership program with annual dues is open to members from various channels, from security to IT and network providers, even home remodelers, Daniels said. “There are hundreds of thousands of providers selling some home technologies,” he explained. “The missing ingredients are the tools and support they need; they go to conferences but they don’t get the knowledge base and tools over the course of a year that we offer.”
HAUS wants its members to think of their participation as belonging to community of dealers. “You pay your dues, and you get a constant support mechanism through holistic training,” he says. “Our goal is for dealers to have a great experience with us. We have no target membership number in mind; the marketplace is so big. We know that dealers will look at us and say, ‘Finally I have an organization with the best in class in tools and resources, an organization that will support me.’ We’re already getting more members than we ever expected.”
The HAUS curriculum hones in on problem solving, immersive learning settings, and knowledge needed to acquire, retain, and maintain new customers. “Our members recognize that their customers have their hands raised for a smarter home, and that what those customers want is one source, with one phone number, to provide it,” Daniels said.
Colorado Connection. Apart from being the home bases of its co-founders, the choice to build HAUS in the Denver metro area was a logical one, Daniels said. “Our curriculum trainers all live and work here every day. We’re in the middle of the country, which makes it easy for our partners and members. Denver is a great city and we hope members will come for training and then take some time to explore and go to the mountains.”
In addition, Denver is fast becoming a tech hub with some 50,000 people migrating to the metro area last year. “There is such a demand here from people who want to have a good work/life balance and be in an environment with advanced technology,” Daniels said.
Typically, HAUS’s member companies will be small businesses, although it does have some new members on the large side. Either way, the training is the same.
“We provide a focus on the exceptional customer experience,” Daniels noted. “You need the right products for the customer, and we’ll help you navigate the difficult landscape of products for this massive, broad market. This is the new opportunity today.”