Evolving the Concept of a Smart Home
Smarter GTM 12.05.2022

Evolving the Concept of a Smart Home

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What is a smart home, and how exactly does it offer a unique experience? In this episode, Paul Williams discusses the smart home industry in a lot of detail. He explains that a smart home is more than just a bunch of connected devices – it’s an experience that unlocks different possibilities for the consumer. For example, one possibility is that the home can be kept secure and monitored without anyone having to be there all the time. Paul also discusses product management and shares insights about how to identify candidates that would be a good fit for a position in this field.

About the Guest

Paul Williams is a visionary leader with a proven track record of leading organizations to high-growth results through building teams with clear objectives and support of the overall vision. Paul’s career spans startups to Fortune 500 companies. Paul joined Nice North America in 2022, where he serves as the Chief Product Officer. In this role, he leads product management teams and develops the product roadmap across all brands. Paul excels at aligning real-world problems and anticipating customer need to create unique and innovative solutions. Paul previously served as GE Lighting’s GM of Product Management and Growth, where he was charged with reimagining lighting solutions. In three years, Paul’s team created a DIY smart home ecosystem with innovative products and scaled the consumer mobile app, taking it from just 30,000 users to more than 2 million. During his 14+ years of executive leadership at Control4, a manufacturer of smart home solutions, he was instrumental in building the company from a startup to IPO with double-digit, year-over-year growth. Paul holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from Southern New Hampshire University, where he graduated Summa Cum Laude.

Connect with Paul Williams

Key Takeaways

  • The future of the smart home is moving towards contextual awareness in which technology can take care of things without the user having to think about it.
  • Product management has become increasingly important to deliver solutions and communicate the value of products to the organization.
  • Vision is important in product development, and communication of that vision is key to a successful product launch.
  • Aftermarket support, positioning of the product, and sales are also important aspects of a successful product.


“There is give and take when it comes to development… What’s important is communicating that vision… and you often find [that] if we can go through that process, we end up with actually a much better product than we even thought we were going to start at the very beginning because that vision has been communicated through the organization.” – Paul Williams

Highlights from the Episode

Could you explain to our listeners the difference between a smart home and a connected home?

A connected home is a home with devices that can be controlled via an app. A smart home offers much more. It is a home that has multiple devices that can be controlled remotely and work together to provide an experience for the consumer. 

What are some of the perceptions of general consumers when it comes to the term “Smart Home”?

Some of the perceptions of general consumers when it comes to the term “Smart Home” are that it is overused and that it is difficult to understand what it means. Additionally, many consumers believe that a smart home is unnecessary, complicated, and expensive. However, if presented with the right value proposition, consumers may be interested in a smart home.

You say that there’s a long way to go for the smart home. Where do you see some of the low-hanging fruit in the category that people can see in the next several years?

The smart home is headed towards becoming contextually aware, which means that it will be able to anticipate needs and react accordingly. This will be made possible by advances in technology that allow the smart home to understand what is happening and who is present. Some of the benefits of this include energy management and security.

What are some of the challenges faced by players operating in the Smart Home category?

Some of the challenges faced by players operating in the Smart Home category are the cost of the devices and the ease of deployment. The need for some technical knowledge from the customer’s end contributes to the high return rate of retail solutions. However, we are moving into easier integration and configuration.

How are you communicating with other stakeholders within the organization for product iterations, product messaging, and Go-To-Market strategy?

The product management team at the organization is responsible for communicating the value of the product to the rest of the company, as well as to customers. They work with other stakeholders within the company to ensure that the product is positioned correctly and that the sales team knows the value proposition. They also work with the finance team to ensure that the product is profitable.

How did you identify that this role in Nice could be a viable career path for you? What about it stood out and excited you so much about the opportunity?


For Paul Williams, the career path of a product manager stood out because it allows him to utilize their skills in problem-solving and business sense (i.e., Understanding P&L, profitability, etc.) to make a difference in people’s lives by providing them with innovative solutions. Safe and secure

With the uncertainty going on, how is this factoring into the decisions around prioritization and deprioritization of specific products and initiatives of Nice?

In light of the current economic situation, Nice is prioritizing products and initiatives that are most valuable to consumers in the present. This includes things like energy conservation, home maintenance, safety, and health & wellness.

Is there a book, blog, newsletter, website, or video that you would recommend to our listeners?


Elizabeth Parks – President and CMO at Parks Associates

Stacey Higginbotham – Founder at Stacey on IoT

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