News Digest: Vivint Featured on ‘Undercover Boss’

News Digest: Vivint Featured on ‘Undercover Boss’

Smart Home Company Goes Hollywood

Vivint CEO Todd Pederson will be featured on the season finale of “Undercover Boss” on CBS. The show will air at 8 p.m. ET/PT, Friday, Feb. 20.

Vivint provides home security, energy management, automation, cloud storage and high-speed Internet solutions for more than 850,000 customers across North American according a press release.

The CEO plays a video store owner from Bend, Oregon, working with several Vivint employees across several areas of the business, including field services.

Pederson’s experience on the show was positive. “Going undercover was such an incredible experience that I actually didn’t want it to end,” he said. “We have grown exponentially in the past 14 years, and I want to make sure our employees understand how critical they are to our business.”

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A before shot of Vivint CEO Todd Pederson as he prepares for his "Undercover Boss" debut. Photo courtesy of CBS
A before shot of Vivint CEO Todd Pederson as he prepares for his “Undercover Boss” debut. Photo courtesy of CBS

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Vivint CEO Todd Pederson after his transformation for "Undercover Boss." Photo courtesy of CBS
Vivint CEO Todd Pederson after his transformation for “Undercover Boss.” Photo courtesy of CBS

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Vivint Home Control
Vivint Home Control

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Undercover Boss” is a reality show that has followed high-level executives for six seasons as they work “anonymously” with the rank and file of their companies. –Casey Meserve

The Stats on Thermostats

Do you think installing a $250 smart thermostat isn’t worth it to homebuyers? According to Nest, its device will pay for itself in less than two years. I’d say that’s a good selling point.

Three internal energy-saving studies from the company find that the device saves 10 to 12 percent on the heating bill and about 15 percent on the cooling bill. This comes out to a yearly savings of about $131 to $145.

Smart thermostats can save homeowners up to $145 a year.
Smart thermostats can save homeowners up to $145 a year. Courtesy of Nest

A press release on Nest’s website reports that though the thermostat can “learn” a homeowner’s schedule and start adjusting itself accordingly, the best energy savings can be achieved by “teaching” it.

 

Iris Retailer Eyeballs Installer Services

Up until now, do it yourself smart home kits have been in their own category. With Lowe’s backing a local installer services company, however, the lines might get a little blurred.

Lowe’s, which recently launched its Iris platform, has invested $65 million in start-up Porch.com. Writers for Forbes speculate that this relationship could make Iris a more appealing option for those still wary about installing the system on their own.

Lowe's Iris smart home platform.
Lowe’s Iris smart home platform.

At the International Builders’ Show in January, two representatives from Lowe’s said that Iris was doing okay in some markets, but remains on the shelves in many. A huge part factor is “the human bug.” Consumers are just having a hard time doing it themselves.

Wink is apparently exploring this option for its own smart home products in 2015. Best Buy’s Geek Squad installations rake in a good chunk for the company. German smart home company DigitalStrom has created a modular smart home system supposedly fit for electricians and builders. This is not some new-fangled idea, but one smart home retailers may want to consider in order to stay relevant in the market.

 

Quick Hit: Smart Home Gets Crowded

Samsung Smart TVs Too Smart?

Last week there was speculation that Samsung’s Smart TV could actually be listening in on you. How big brother of them.

The Daily Beast reported that Samsung’s privacy policy enables the internet-connected television to capture conversations and send it to third parties using the voice command feature.

Samsung Smart TV
Samsung Smart TV

While this is likely a way for the company to establish better performance, the feature does raise yet even more questions about smart device security issues. If the transmission is not encrypted, a hacker could conceivably turn your TV into an eavesdropping device.

Luckily, Samsung has chimed in that data encryption is used to secure personal information. It has also updated its privacy policy.

About The Author

Kelly Mello is a TecHome Builder Staff Writer, creating timely, investigative articles for its eMagazine and Special Reports. She graduated from the University of Massachusetts, Dartmouth in 2006 with a bachelor’s degree in English: Communications & Rhetoric. She began her writing career in 2007 as editorial assistant for GateHouse Media. From 2010 to 2013, she was local editor for various Patch sites, including Norton.Patch.com.

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