Is Best Buy’s latest Geek Squad service a blueprint for niche IoT?
As Best Buy has worked to turn itself around, two of its biggest differentiators have been its Geek Squad service offerings and its focus on selling and supporting IoT devices. The chain’s latest move leverages both by focusing its Geek Squad resources on a very specific niche within the smart home/IoT area. Best Buy is offering smart home consultations and installations geared towards adults acting as caretakers for elderly parents.
The smart home service, called Assured Living, consists of a free assessment that allows caregivers to determine the right arrangement of in-home monitors, devices and alerts for effectively caring for the elderly people in question, the Star Tribune reported. Geek Squad employees then implement the technology.
It’s easy to see the unique challenges facing a customer setting up a smart home for this purpose. For instance, a caregiver would want to balance the need for monitoring with the cared-for adult’s need for privacy and personal autonomy. Thus, when choosing a suite of smart home solutions, the devices will vary in accordance with the elder’s level of mobility and other capabilities.
Walgreens is addressing the needs of the aging population by building features into its mobile app such as a function reminding users to take their pills, larger fonts for those with weaker eyesight and simplified menus for easy navigability by those who rarely use mobile apps.
Other brands intent on establishing leadership in the smart home market have also recently announced services to help customers take care of technically challenging in-home setups. Amazon rolled out its own smart home consultation and setup service in seven markets. This, of course, also serves Amazon’s vested interest in making its Alexa voice assistant the centerpiece of as many smart homes as possible.
But Best Buy’s move may offer evidence that there is more than one way to slice the smart home market. As the market matures, we could see more smart home setups geared towards niche needs, and perhaps vendors creating and bundling suites of devices for those niches.
- Best Buy introduces ‘smart home’ service aimed at caretakers’ needs – Star Tribune
- How is Walgreens getting older shoppers to use its mobile app? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Does targeting a specific niche of smart home services put Best Buy ahead of Amazon in its efforts to offer smart home installation? Will Best Buy own this niche, and what other smart home/IoT niches could service providers target and establish themselves in?