A smart home innovator and veteran, Eric Smith founded smart home startup OliverIQ in 2020, a venture that extends his dedication to, and impact on, household efficiency. His many achievements in this field have earned him the CTA Smart Home Leadership Award for 2024.
Eric Smith is devoted to household automation that anyone can access, afford and use. To that end, Smith came to CES 2024 with the company he founded, OliverIQ, to launch the Smart Home as a Service (SHaaS) platform. A first in the industry, the OliverIQ brand combines subscription services with a simple app so that homeowners can more easily and cost-effectively manage basic smart home features such as doorbells, lighting and climate control.
In a recent Q&A session with CTA, Smith elaborated on smart home trends, the sector’s potential and what’s new for the smart home consumer.
Throughout my career, I’ve focused on making technology accessible to more people. When Will West and I founded Control4, home automation was stratospherically out of reach for all but the very wealthiest homeowners. We changed the game, making luxury home automation more practical, affordable and easy to use for integrators and consumers alike. Control4 single-handedly broadened the luxury home automation market, bringing smart experiences into the mainstream in high-end homes, hotels and beyond.
My new company, OliverIQ, goes farther. This time, our goal is to make true home automation accessible to every homeowner, backed by the always-on service required to prevent automation decay. Our Smart Home as a Service (SHaasS) platform allows consumers to unite, control and automate devices from any manufacturer, using any RF technology, in a single app. Moreover, our service provider portal empowers our partners to provide in-depth technical support for any smart home device, including remote management and screen takeover capabilities. We’re offering consumers the smart home they’ve always wanted, backed by the service they’ve always needed.
This is the realization of a vision Will and I have had for a long time. With OliverIQ, I’m incredibly proud to have engineered a viable home automation model for everyone.
The SHaaS model is going to dissolve many of the objections the smart home industry faces today – steep learning curve, lack of interoperability, unreliability, planned obsolescence, etc. Consumers will have the freedom and confidence to purchase any mainstream smart home device they want, knowing they’ll be able to easily integrate it and get support when needed.
This is going to have a snowball effect: With greater benefits and less hassle, more people will adopt smart home technology. Existing systems will grow. And, as the industry scales, smart homes will bring important new benefits to our lives. We’ll be able to manage home repair and service appointments remotely, greeting, monitoring and communicating with providers entirely through a SHaaS app. We can reduce our carbon footprint through smart automation that monitors and controls all of the home’s most important systems. We’ll have the freedom to stay in our homes longer, adapting environments to suit changing physical needs, with help only a word away. People will be able to rely on and enjoy their homes more, and these benefits will be accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy.
I’ve built my career by stepping outside industry paradigms, tackling technical challenges that most people thought of as part of the natural order. We don’t have to accept things as they are. Through persistent innovation, we can make the smart home more affordable, personal, reliable and useful.
I hope I can inspire others to keep pushing on the hard problems. Don’t do what’s easy: Do what matters. Realizing your vision may take more years, more partnerships, and maybe even more companies than you originally planned, but it’s worth it. This is how we build the future we want to live in.
Eric Smith is founder and CTO of smart home company OliverIQ. In this capacity, Smith leverages his background as a smart home automation pioneer leading product direction and architecture to design products that are both simple and comprehensive. He holds dozens of patents for device control systems, power management for electronics, and for gesture-based lighting control. His bachelor of science degree is in computer science from Brigham Young University.
Each year CTA presents the Smart Home Leadership Award to an individual who has made significant contributions to the growth and success of the smart home industry while demonstrating continued dedication and service to the consumer tech industry. Smith was honored for his outstanding achievements in this rapidly growing sector of the consumer electronics industry. Visit the topic page for the Smart Home Leadership Award to learn more.