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Connected home software startup Stratisannounceda new partnership with Honeywell that will see it use the manufacturer’s thermostats as part of its apartment-management platform.
BI Intelligence spoke with Stratis CEO Felicite Moorman about how this new agreement will impact the company's future, as well as its wider strategy of treating the connected home as a business-to-business (B2B) space, rather than taking the more common business-to-consumer (B2C) approach.
Stratis offers a software platform that property owners and managers can use in multifamily apartments and student housing at universities. These properties can install connected thermostats, smart door locks, and leak-monitoring devices that give the residents and property managers better control over units, while lowering costs. Stratis is also integrated with lease management platforms including RealPage and Yardi to make it easier to transfer and revoke control of devices from tenants.
The company’s solutions are ideal for high turnover properties like college dormitories, where students change units regularly and can often lose keys or neglect to adjust the thermostat when they go away long term. By installing connected thermostats, property managers at colleges can make sure that heating units are kept at maintenance temperatures during winter break, for instance, so that energy costs are minimized, but there’s no risk of pipes bursting. And smart locks can let maintenance staff enter units easily should the need arise without requiring dozens of keys or an insecure master.
Partnering with Honeywell provides clear benefits for both companies. Honeywell will gain access to a large and growing potential install base for its devices, which have typically been limited to owner-occupied homes. Moreover, Stratis has partnered with Best Buy to make the installation process easier and facilitate maintenance of the devices, which are installed in over 200,000 apartment units around the US. And, by working with Honeywell, Stratis gets a single partner that’s willing to work closely to create hardware and software tailored to its platform — Moorman said Honeywell worked quickly to build software specifically to work with Stratis’ solution.
Adopting a B2B model for the smart home is a novel approach that has allowed Stratis to grow quickly. Companies in the space typically approach smart home devices as consumer products, and try to foster adoption by selling to them directly.
But, while that can work for less expensive products like connected light bulbs, devices that require larger investment and tend to stay with a home, such as door locks or appliances, are locked out of the rental market. With 35% of the US population renting, including 50% of those under 30, that’s a huge market that Stratis is tapping into. And, for the larger smart home market, exposing renters to smart home devices could persuade them to buy additional devices of their own, or install them if they do eventually purchase a home, driving continued growth in the consumer IoT.