“We’re taking what’s very complicated and simplifying it for the consumer,” says Vivint Smart Home cofounder and CEO Todd Pedersen. The Provo, Utah–based company solves the most common problems with intelligent appliances—namely that they’re often difficult to set up and don’t play nice with any other internet-connected devices—by approaching smart-home technology as a subscription-based service.
A lot of companies develop a single product, Pedersen says, “but if you try to add additional services and products to your home, they’re completely uncoordinated.” Instead, Vivint’s 1.2 million customers sign up for packages that include the installation of hardware (both its own and that of other companies, such as Nest); 24/7 tech support; repair services; and the seamless coordination of everything—from doorbell cameras to thermostats—via the Vivint app. Last year, this strategy increased annual revenue by roughly 15%, to more than $650 million.
The company is now launching an AI assistant that analyzes customers’ behavior to anticipate their preferences. In another grab at the mainstream, Vivint struck a partnership with Airbnb that will let hosts link their accounts to Vivint, and use its equipment to interact with guests via a door cam and allow them keyless entry.