May 4, 2017
John Vomhof Jr.Staff Writer
Frank Regalado was wandering through his local Best Buy in San Antonio on a recent afternoon when a bright blue door in the center of the store caught his eye.
It was an interactive display with smart home products, including a smart lock, doorbell, cameras and thermostat. Intrigued, he tried all the gadgets. Then he worked with a smart home expert to design a system that was right for him. It was an unexpected purchase, but a valuable one.
“I’ve been wanting to add a security system at my house,” he said. “I’m starting a new job and want that peace of mind.”
The products and monitoring service Frank bought that day are part of a new partnership between Best Buy and Vivint Smart Home, two of the nation’s leading smart home product and service providers. The collaboration will give customers an easy way to automate and manage their homes with an increased selection of products, professional home installation and monthly monitoring plans.
The companies announced Thursday that Best Buy Smart Home powered by Vivint will expand to more than 400 Best Buy stores this summer. Those stores and BestBuy.com also will feature Vivint products — including smart locks, cameras and thermostats — that have never before been available at retail stores.
Smart home, made easier
Many customers want to make their homes smarter, but they often find it confusing to choose products, install them and monitor the technology on their own. The partnership between Best Buy and Vivint aims to simplify that.
Vivint’s platform lets customers lock and unlock doors, control lights or check cameras from a single mobile app. Everything looks the same on the app as it does on the home control panel. The system also works with Amazon Echo and Google Home so users can control features via voice.
“When you piece together a smart home on your own, you usually end up with a bunch of different apps,” said Bryan Girardi, a Best Buy general manager in San Antonio, one of two cities where Best Buy has been testing the partnership since last fall. “With Vivint, it’s one system and one app. The ease of use is really nice.”
The new partnership with Vivint builds on Best Buy’s industry-leading expertise and selection of smart home products. Last year, Best Buy sold more than 55 million connected devices and provided in-home, in-store and online technology services nearly 16 million times. Vivint, meanwhile, has installed more than 15 million smart gadgets in North American homes and was recently named the No. 1 smart home service provider in the U.S. by Strategy Analytics.
Consumer awareness and adoption of smart home products are on the rise. U.S. sales of home automation products increased 57 percent in 2016, according to The NPD Group. Smart doorbells, locks and security cameras are leading the growth. And nearly half of households with those products are using voice commands in some manner.
“I think it’s really opening everyone’s eyes to smart home technology,” said Mike Grohmann, the general manager at another Best Buy store in San Antonio.
‘Customers are in control’
When customers walk into a participating store, they’ll notice a large, blue door where an expert will demonstrate various smart home devices. The interactive display lets customers see and try out the gadgets and the control panel.
Best Buy and Vivint experts are on hand to help customers choose the products and services that fit their needs. Customers can buy the products upfront or take advantage of special financing.
Customers also can choose an accompanying service plan that includes 24/7 remote monitoring with emergency response, around-the-clock online and phone support, in-home service and equipment protection. Service plans cost $39 or $49 per month, and there’s a no-contract option. A professional installer then visits the customer’s home to set everything up — often within 24 hours of the purchase.
“The customers are in control,” said Joseph Bardell, a Vivint expert at a Best Buy store in San Antonio. “They get to build the system that’s right for them.”
To learn more, visit www.bestbuy.com/smarthomesecurity.