Are you a Leader or a Laggard? How this Retailer is Leading the Smart Home Device Market

Leading consumer electronics players are addressing device security, are you?

Canadian Tire is disrupting the smart home market. Recently, the Canadian-based retailer deftly distinguished itself from its competitors with its ground-breaking cybersecurity capabilities which they effectively leveraged in their go-to-market strategy.

Effectively creating a new playing field for devices to be smart and secure, they have protected their Noma IQ suite of connected home products, that range from humidifiers to smart light bulbs and electrical outlets with their DataGuard security labeling program.

Born out of the need to address market demand for smart home products that are secure, Canadian Tire now finds itself leading this new frontier. Not just because of the way they are securing their devices, selecting to secure the entire device, rather than just the data, but they are also breaking new ground in the way they’re educating their customers, encouraging them to be more cyber-savvy when purchasing smart home products. 

The difference in protection levels

Most devices, if they have any security at all, have a patchwork of security that is focused on different user interfaces. So for example, some devices may have good user controls that use multi-factor authentication (MFA) to ensure the right person is logging in. Other devices may be encrypting all the data collected that is being sent to the cloud. However, this patchwork approach to security doesn’t actually protect the entire device. Security needs to be comprehensive and ensure all potential vectors for attack are closed and sealed. It’s like putting a lock on your front door and keeping your back door wide open. Addressing one method of attack does not equate to a secure device.

The security capabilities provided in the Noma IQ range is entirely unique for the way it protects the entirety of the device. Using built-in technology from Firedome that automatically detects, prevents, and responds to anything that may be identified as suspicious. This means that whether an attack is coming from another device on the home network, a scan of open ports to intercept data, or through the user’s credentials being leaked, the attempt will be detected and blocked in all these circumstances. 

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Leveraging cybersecurity towards marketing

Canadian Tire has leveraged the value of their more secure smart products in their marketing communications. For new customers who may have strong hesitations about installing smart internet-connected devices in their homes, addressing cybersecurity in their communication has worked to subtly reassure these buyers of the safety and reliability of their products. 

For customers that are on the search for more secure products, this messaging works to meaningfully differentiate from competitors as it directly addresses their concerns.   

For the purpose of developing brand trust and a sense of performance reliability, Canadian Tire developed their own trademark security label, DataGuard. The DataGuard security label is placed on all the box packaging and buyers who want to know more can visit their website to find information on the comprehensive level of protection provided.

The strategic move towards emphasizing security and privacy has enabled the product team at Canadian Tire to build devices that are more resilient to cyber-attacks.  This has multiple business benefits, which include ensuring the device’s performance reliability and avoiding brand reputational damage. They expect these outcomes to have a direct impact on improving customer lifetime value, as customer loyalty and trust is maintained. 

The box packaging for the NOMA iQ Smart Bulb that is sold by Canadian Tire.

 

The website page for NOMA iQ provides more detail on the comprehensive level of protection.

Meeting Cybersecurity regulation requirements

Applying security and privacy mechanisms are set to become a bar to market entry with the passing in December 2020 of the Internet of Things Cybersecurity Improvement Act. Standards directly address implementing cybersecurity controls in IoT devices, where for example, devices must be uniquely identified logically and physically within a network.

Complementing the Act is the Cyber Shield bill that aims to educate shoppers with a security labeling program. The intention is for it to work in the same way that smart energy labels are used for household appliances, where an A+ rating entails the highest level of energy efficiency. Providing more than just certification, the labeling provides a protection profile of the security functions that have been built into the connected device. A higher cyber protection level could be used for competitive differentiation against other similar products that only meet a baseline of security. 

Firedome is uniquely positioned to help IoT device brands develop their cybersecurity capabilities and leverage this as a feature in their marketing communications. As an IoT growth enabler, we’re dedicated to helping them overcome purchase hurdles around security and privacy and at the same time differentiate their product through communication that deepens customer trust in their brand.

Other retailers in the smart home market would be wise to take note of the strategy employed by Canadian Tire. Knowing the security and privacy status of a device is becoming a priority in the minds of buyers and this is a trend that is only going to become more ubiquitous. The time is ripe for product managers to develop a strategy to meet this growing demand, and ensure they keep their competitive advantage.

 

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