Smart technology in the pool industry…
With smart phones and devices at its very core, technology is now inherent within all aspects of everyday modern life, relied upon to make tasks faster and easier with the combined effect of increased convenience. In parallel, every industry from travel to property to finance are embracing technology to enhance and improve efficiency for itself and its customers. The pool industry is no exception. “Society expects information at the click of a button, and information on their swimming pool is no different,” emphasises Ben Blackburn, Business Development Manager, Bosta UK. “End users now expect the ability to monitor and control their pool via their smart phone. Whether pool companies like it or not, it is a necessity to keep up with consumer demand.”
“Customers want convenience,” concurs Adam Clark, Sales Director at Golden Coast. “These days almost everything has an app, and owners would like the same option when it comes to managing their pools, spas, saunas and hot tubs. It’s all about making a wellness lifestyle easier.
“There is also the environmental factor. End users are becoming increasingly focused on eco-friendly solutions that reduce energy use, water waste and running costs, and smart technology will enable this. Bruce Coppuck, Certikin’s UK Business Director agrees: “Smart technology is very much being driven by the consumer with devices to turn the home into a smart hub more popular than ever.CUSTOMER DEMAND
“To meet consumer demands, the pool trade tends to look to the industry’s suppliers for solutions,” continues Bruce. “As the UK’s leading supplier, Certikin are constantly innovating to ensure we remain at the forefront and continue to support the trade,” he adds. “Recent innovations include Blue Connect, a smart device that allows the user to access the data of their pool when and wherever they are. Another product which has been well received is the PU2 mini LED lights which through the Wi-Fi controller and app gives full control of colours and sequences.
“The latest innovation for 2020 with smart technology, are our new side and top outlet inverter heat pumps,” adds Bruce. “As well as featuring inverter technology the I-PAC and I-PAC+ machines have Wi-Fi-built in,” he continues.
“By connecting to an app this allows the user to control the temperature of the pool remotely, so it’s ready to dive in as soon as the owner gets home,” he finishes.
“At its core, Internet of Thing (IoT) is simple,” points out John Whiteside Business Development Director at Lighthouse Pools. “It’s about connecting devices over the internet, letting them talk to us, applications, and each other,” says John.
While the Internet of Things focuses on connecting devices, the Internet of Everything goes beyond that, by exploring connections that can be made everywhere, between people, data, and processes, says John. “The Internet of Everything builds on top of IoT to further advance the power of the internet in improving business and societal outcomes,” he explains.
For the pool industry, there are many benefits to the move into the Internet of Everything. Automation, when applied to a swimming pool, provides intelligent management and remote control of pool equipment using any internet-connected device (smartphone, tablet or computer) remotely.
Pool automation means controlling all swimming pool equipment remotely encompassing filtration, water treatment, heating, lighting, cleaning, and water features, to name just a few.WATCHWORDS
“The Zodiac® brand develops the best technology with a non-stop innovative approach,” says John. “Market trends, pioneering spirit, the determination to excel. These are the watchwords that Zodiac® endeavours to respect in order to move towards increased safety and ever-increasing performance. “This is a philosophy that, over the course of the last century, has enabled the brand to build a reputation for itself and establish a trusting relationship with the customers,” John emphasises. “The trade has been incredibly receptive and we’ve had great feedback about the ease of installation and use,” adds John. Generally speaking, the trade is open to new methods and technologies,” agrees Adam of Golden Coast. “Any solution that makes pool operation easier is going to be popular.” This has been proven by the uptake of Golden Coast’s PoolCop; an innovative pool management solution that remotely monitors pools from a central platform that allows a company to review the status of every client’s pool and sends alerts when something requires attention.
Adam again: “Not only does this help the pool trade maintain profitable, proactive service contracts, but it also ensures that the pool owner gets the most out of their pool.” “I believe it is up to us as a supplier to ensure that our customers have the knowledge, understanding and confidence to offer new solutions and technological advancements to their clients, which is why we offer on-toone training sessions on some of our more technical products. Anything launched by Golden Coast has been tested by the manufacturer, and their own technical engineers put each product through its paces long before it is released. “This allows us to better understand the product, and enables us to provide a comprehensive back up and support service to our customers,” says Adam. “It means they can buy with confidence, knowing there is a support team available to answer any questions.” With any new product, it’s key to have a good understanding of what it does and how it works, to make sure it’s right for a particular application. There can be the temptation to choose something simply because it’s new, but it has to be effective. Golden Coast work with the trade to find the products best suited for their installations, ensuring that every piece is beneficial to the project. “Our GC Hub Control Panels are a good example,” Adam points out. “Rather than offer a one-size-fits-all solution, we start by asking the trade to tell us what their needs are. We then provide a bespoke solution tailormade to control specific elements of an installation using the latest technologies.”
It is not just suppliers who are biting the smart technology bullet. Investment in software has stream-lined service calls and provides up to date information and record-keeping on business visit times and locations. Leading contractors like Falcon Pools, this year’s UK Pool & Spa Awards’ Pool Contractors Of The Year, have been quick to build in an APP to their customer marketing experience. “We have built an enviable portfolio of indoor and outdoor pools for our clients,” comments Ian Storr. “Understandably, it’s not possible for potential customers to view them in person so we’ve mimicked this experience via narrated, interactive 360 video walkthrough tours. “They’re an astonishing combination of fluidity, interaction, immersion and storytelling that allow us to effortlessly showcase our pools. “It gives potential customers the chance to peruse many different styles and executions, whilst seeing how key additions such as walk-on covers and counter-current units work in practice,” says Ian. “It also gives our current clients a sense of pride when they see their pool being showcased in such a way,” he adds. Falcon worked with YourTour, an award-winning company that specialises in the creation of immersive and interactive narrated 360 video virtual walkthrough tours. “They assisted us all the way, from consulting to recording to scriptwriting to narration. They also produced a white label app for us, giving us an App Store presence for a fraction of the price. Ian continues: “This is something that no amount of 2D photos can bring; it’s an invaluable sales tool for our sales team – they visit a client’s property with an iPad, phone and VR headset, and instead of ‘talking the talk’ like most of our competitors, Falcon literally lets potential customers ‘walk the walk’.”
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