PointCentral: Smart Home Tech, Enterprise Edition

While home automation and other smart home technologies have been on the rise in 2013 so far, one Virginia company, PointCentral, is asking itself, why start a business automating one home per customer, when you can automate hundreds of homes per customer?

PointCentral is helping businesses use the current staples of smart home technology –– remote lighting and heating controls, security systems, digital locks monitored and logged –– to become smart businesses, with large volume orders and added conveniency and efficiency.

According to Adam Norko, director of sales and marketing for PointCentral, one of the key ways that PointCentral differentiates itself from its residential competition is by running on cellular data networks, rather than the Wi-Fi most other home automation systems rely on.

This allows its customers to keep track of and control all of their properties, without limitations on distance. This works well for one of the company’s current main focuses, the rental property market.

“Vacation rental industry is a huge industry, $85 billion between the U.S. and Europe. And it’s grown tremendously over the past five years. It’s had a huge growth spike, similar to home automation,” Norko said. “Property automation is a natural fit for vacation rental managers because they’re managing 200 homes, 500 homes, some companies I’m talking to are managing 1,500 homes. And they’re doing it over a geographic area that could be 50-100 miles. Well to get out to all those homes to do the things they need to do is next to impossible.”

These rentals can now be controlled from any Web-connected computer, or through an app on iOS or Android. One organization in Oregon recently completed a test run on 20 properties. A year later, the company has signed on to bring the technology into all 200 of its properties.

PointCentral has also started working with commercial spaces, including franchises of national chains like Burger King or H&R Block. These businesses are now able to remotely control lights, check motion-detection camera security systems and keep track of which employees are accessing the building and when.

Existing for less than a year, but already stepping into an arena being eyeballed by technology and telecommunications companies for years, PointCentral already lined up quite a few large projects.

Norko spoke about the other companies –– Time Warner, Microsoft, Rogers, etc. –– that are venturing into smart home technology, but haven’t really focused on the commercial side. Why would these companies, who are clearly familiar with how money works, go after single family homes and not the businesses who thrive and succeed on squeezing as much efficiency as they can out of their venture?

While Apple got an early lead on personal computing in the 1970s, Microsoft was the one who dominated the globe (for a little while) by capturing the enterprise business market.

Kudos to PointCentral on twisting trends to find fresh meat.

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