Connected Things Business Models: Vivint Home

Jen van der MeerBusiness Model Practice, Hardware

Smart Home Systems

Vivint Smart Home develops smart-home technology as a complete service and system.

Founded

Founded as APX Alarm Security Solutions in 1999, the company originally sold and installed third-party security systems, but in 2011 rebranded as Vivint Home and pivoted toward their own smart-home solutions. They spun off Vivint Solar in 2014.

 

Funding

Vivint has been shaped through multiple rounds of financing starting with early savvy use of debt financing to grow the home security business, venture capital, then acquisition by Blackstone Group. In early 2020 the company merged with Special Purpose Acquisition Company Mosaic Group and is now listed on the public markets. 

 

Environment, Social, Governance

No listed commitments outside of a corporate philanthropy program, Vivint Gives Back. 

Mission

At Vivint, our company mission is to protect families, increase energy efficiency, and simplify lives.  

Where on the Resiliency Scale?

This series explores the variety of ways established companies and incumbents adapt digital business models for hardware, and how we as humans are shifting our roles as we undertand the impact of these machines.  

Vivint Home has combined powerful sales organization with a strong recurring revenue operating metrics that helped them pivot the business, and whether the COVID19 storm to adapt and thrive.

Let’s take a look at the offering from Vivint Home. 

Images below are from Vivint Homes’ Investor Presentation prior to a 2020 SPAC-driven IPO. 

 

Business Model Moves

Solve a Customer Problem 

If you’ve ever helped your parent try to install Google Nest, then you know that Google is not solving your parent’s problem, nor yours as their free home IT support. The technology requires a level of sophistication and often patience, trial and error to get it working, and to keep it working.

Smart devices are integrated — doorbells, indoor and outdoor cameras, locks, thermostats, and more — into a cohesive experience, so that “you don’t have to use eight different apps to control things,” as former CTO Jeremy Warren described. The company focuses on “being the easy button” for homeowners. Customers do not want to be bothered with the complexity of installation, particularly as the smart home is only achievable if the individual devices talk to each other: doorbells, alarm systems, thermostats, Amazon Alexa, and other connected devices. Vivint solves this by providing a system with integrated service, support, and monitoring. 

 

Design the Channel for Accelerated Adoption

Vivint did not start as a tech company. Founded as APX Alarm Security, they were successful buying and reselling security hardware from companies like Honeywell and then reselling recurring revenue monitoring contracts to companies like ADT and Monotronics. Vivint is known for its strong sales training program and potentially lucrative door-to-door sales jobs.

Essentially, Vivint Home was a strong channel before they became a larger company with bigger ambitions. The company was well prepared for COVID19 because of investments to enable recurring revenue and digital marketing to drive inside sales, customer service, and repeat, cross-sell, and up-sell. 

 

Business Model Aligned to Value Proposition and Continuous Service

Vivint Home took on a deliberate transformation of their business model from home installer to hardware manufacturer to recurring revenue. Their business model is similar to a managed services provider model used to provide outsourced IT support to small businesses, leaving Vivint Home responsible for monitoring, repairs, and other support. Vivint Home was designed for the long-haul and many months of continuous lifetime service. 

Vivint Home bundles multiple service packages around connected hardware with multiple options for choosing functionality and payment. Pay-as-you-go financing was added to their offering, presenting  an affordable way to add additional service and functionality to their options, and accelerating further growth in monthly average recurring revenue per customer.

 

IoT Embedded, Not a Core Feature

Vivint Home has quietly grown into their leadership role as the US’s largest smart home company as other more device and tech-focused cultures are still recovering from failed pilots and demonstration projects. Leadership’s strength is their  sales culture that sees technology investment as a benefit to support customer experience and to help increase lifetime value. 

The company has invested in AI technology but in a commercially prudent way. Vivint’s Sky offering collects homeowners’ behaviors and makes intelligent suggestions through a customer control panel, and provides a unified rationale for adding sensors to devices that need to connect to the larger system.  The offering led to a substantial increase in growth and adoption of new services for the company. The launch of the Sky cloud system pushed their customer adoption rate of additional services to nearly 70 percent. 

They invested in digitally transforming the company’s overall processes to enable connected data-driven devices and services. Tech features are never rolled out as mere demonstration pilots but as solid business cases with customer benefit and clear through lines to marketing and sales KPIs like average monthly recurring revenue and customer adoption from additional services.  

Data Rights Transparency 

Customers transfer a great deal of trust to use remote doorbells and video cams to let people into their homes. The company has a clearly stated policy that describes how they use that data. 

Vivint Home’s privacy policy is not just narrowly focused on the web data use, they communicate what type of sensor-derived data they collect. From connected devices, they receive information such as IP address, unique device identifiers such as MAC address, sensors, activity information, battery status, location, and WiFi network information. The data can be shared to improve products or share with partners.  

 

Evaluating Vivint Home’s Efforts:

So many smart-home-of-the future projects over the past 20 years failed to launch and sit in the dusty archives, landfills, and digital servers of every leading tech company. While Apple, Google’s Nest, and Amazon Home are often top-of-mind devices when people thing of smart home technology, only Vivint has figured out how to link devices together for better overall user experience in the home. 

Vivint Home’s strength in selling door-to-door and installing on-site gave them a more humble more mutual relationship with the customer. Their roots in home security system provided an appreciation for the benefits of recurring revenue and service contracts, and informed the overall transition of the company. As more Americans continue to live and work from their home base, Vivint is well-positioned to be the leading great adoption for more and more smart home devices and services.

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