In 1982, a group of computer science students at Carnegie Mellon were tired of walking up and down the stairs, only to find an empty Coke machine.
Their solution? Rigging microswitches from the vending machine to their office computers. That way, they could see how many Cokes were left (and if they were cold) without taking a step. Coincidentally, this was also the first year the word “Internet” was used.
Fast forward 30 odd years. The Internet now permeates our lives, and the Internet of Things has moved way beyond the Coke machine. Welcome to a new era where everything is connected—and it’s only going to accelerate.
Angelo Blot, founder of SmartHome Estimate, has picked up on the trend. And he’s tapped Typeform to help him get the word out (while making a little cash on the side).
How a trend becomes a business
Angelo loves smart technology, and he wanted to share his enthusiasm.
“I wanted people to see that these cool smart devices are real things, and they can help you in so many ways. They can make your house more secure, they can reduce your heating and lighting expenses, and some just make life a bit more fun.”
So Angelo opened an office near his home in Montpellier, France, to provide customized smart home services. From there, he catered to all kinds of living spaces—from tiny apartments to large houses. There was a ton of interest in this technology, but Angelo knew the market was even bigger.
“I was spending a lot of time looking for customers and making estimates just for my own geographic area. But what about other people who wanted a smart home? People liked how I was helping them, but I knew the market demand was bigger. Just see how many connected objects are selling each day!”
And that’s how SmartHome Estimate was born.
“I had the idea to create a simple form that could give our users an idea of what a smart home could be, what functionalities they could get, and finally, a way to estimate the cost of building their perfect smart home.”
But ideas don’t build products. So Angelo needed a way to turn this concept into reality. Don’t take our word for it, try it out for yourself:
A smart way to spread a passion for smart technology
After looking around, Angelo found his solution.
“What first made us decide to use Typeform was the amazing look of the form that you can create with a mix of videos, pictures, and colors. It was easy to create logic jumps and use the Calculator. And what really drew us to Typeform is the ability to link a lot of tools to our form using Zapier.”
There’s a lot stirred in there. So let’s break it down a bit.
Smart home tech is really cool, but to the uninitiated it might seem a bit sci-fi. Angelo uses pictures and videos to show how smart technology can improve everyday life.
“When we added the videos, our analysis showed that people stay a little bit longer on the typeform. That’s a great metric for us because we see people are more interested in seeing what functionalities each product provides.”
To get started, Angelo used one of Typeform’s pre-designed templates, then adjusted colors and fonts to fit his brand.
“We removed the Typeform branding so we could say we developed the forms on our own. But we had so many questions about how we designed it and what tool we used that we had to tell our secret.”
Angelo had the look and feel he wanted. He also had over 50 possible questions to help estimate the cost of a smart home. But Angelo only wants people to answer the questions they care about. That’s why he used logic jumps.
Example? He asks respondents if they want to make their home safer. If they say “yes,” he shows them some smart devices that can help. If they answer “no” to improving home safety, his typeform skips to the next section on improving heating systems. Pretty cool.
And to add it all up at the end?
“Typeform makes this possible thanks to Calculator. It lets us provide an estimate for the entire list of the products needed. And it’s easy—you can add all your questions and design to the typeform first, and then go back and add the logic jumps and variables like ‘score’ to tailor the flow of the conversation.”
After clicking submit, here’s what happens:
- User receives an email with an itemized list of choices, a cost estimate, and a link to Amazon with options on how to buy.
- Angelo gets a notification letting him know that someone has completed his estimator.
And it all works automatically. How? Angelo set up an integration between his typeform and his CRM system (Podio) using Zapier. These apps are simply snapped together, making it easy to manage the entire process.
Is it paying off?
According to Angelo, “Results have been awesome.” When he first launched, he had more than 800 estimates in less than a month. Now those numbers are in the thousands. And last time we checked, he had a 42% completion rate on his typeform. Nice.
What does Angelo get for all his effort? For one, he set up an Amazon affiliate program. So when people buy something that he’s linked them to on Amazon, he gets a little commission for his efforts. Passive income well deserved.
And he has plans to expand. Angelo is looking to add extra consulting and installation services soon. In fact, he’s already doing this in France, following the success of his original French estimator, MaSmartHome.
We’ve definitely come a long way from the lonely Coke machine. And as Angelo has shown us, the future of smart technology has plenty of room to grow.
How did Angelo do it?
Want to build a typeform app to pursue a passion? Maybe make some extra cash? Here are some of the steps that Angelo took. If you haven’t already got an account, you can sign up for Typeform for free.
1. Add Videos and photos to show, not just tell
Will a picture explain your question better than a sentence? Will a video engage your respondents more than a paragraph? Then stop telling and start showing. Find out how to add pictures, videos, even animated GIFs to your typeform.
2. Use Logic Jump to keep your questions relevant
Do you need to send respondents to different questions, depending on the responses they give? Then you need to use Logic Jump.
3. Keep running totals with Calculator
Need to provide an estimate or sum up a total cost? Find out all the things you can do with Calculator.
4. Set up Self notifications, so you know when people answer
Are you checking your results page every two minutes to see if someone answered? Stop! You can get answers to specific questions, or every question, sent straight to your inbox with Self notifications.
5. Integrate with other applications
Typeforms are great for interacting with your customers. But they’re even more powerful when linked up to other applications. Here’s how to connect Typeform to your favorite tools.
6. Open your typeform in a pop-up window
And of course let us know if you have any questions! Our team is always here to help.