New Electronic Timers Give Consumers – And Contractors – What They Want

Electronic timer technology has changed the way homeowners interact with
 timer-enabled switches. Now consumers have the option of intuitive 
controls and settings that can be changed remotely, using smartphone 
apps. However, contractors are becoming more involved in the initial 
setup of these devices, which is a switch from what some installers may 
be used to. Fortunately, the latest generation of timers is making that 
process easier, as well, improving the experience for both contractors 
and their customers. Intermatic

Chuck Ross

Electronic timer technology has changed the way homeowners interact with timer-enabled switches. Now consumers have the option of intuitive controls and settings that can be changed remotely, using smartphone apps. However, contractors are becoming more involved in the initial setup of these devices, which is a switch from what some installers may be used to. Fortunately, the latest generation of timers is making that process easier, as well, improving the experience for both contractors and their customers.

Certainly, traditional analog/mechanical timers are still on the market. But today’s homeowners are increasingly looking for the kind of control options they’re becoming used to in lighting, thermostats, security cameras and other smart home-control products.

“Most homeowners gravitate toward solutions that support Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or Z-Wave connectivity, as they’re often the standard in consumer applications,” says Kimberly Durkot, segment marketing manager with timer manufacturer Intermatic. She adds that these connectivity technologies empower consumers with control and and convenience features, such as remote mobile access and voice commands.”

However, as with other smart appliances, consumers also can value a little help getting started with their new digital timers – and that’s where contractors can add some value to their installation services, Durkot says. “Rather than simply being an installer, contractors are often required to facility timer setup and educate homeowners on how to best use their new devices.”

As a result, manufacturers are also now working to make installation easier and more efficient. For example, some companies offer pre-programmed templates that can be selected to cover the vast majority of operations a customer would want to control. And, in some cases, contractors don’t have to wait for a Wi-Fi router to be installed and operational before completing their set-up work. Secure, peer-to-peer communication channels can allow contractors to perform set-up routines using proprietary smartphone and tablet apps without need for a Wi-Fi connection. This feature can be especially helpful in new-construction projects, by saving the need for a return visit after Wi-Fi networks are up and running.


Photo courtesy of Intermatic

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