Introducing the Best of The Smart Home Awards


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Very is pleased to announce our sponsorship of the 2021 Best of The Smart Home Awards! We’re just as passionate about exploring the amazing innovations happening throughout the Internet of Things (IoT) world right now as we are about building awesome products, so we couldn’t be happier to organize a contest to highlight the best of the best in consumer IoT.

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Anyone who isn’t affiliated with us or any of the other judges’ organizations may apply, and it’s completely free. The awards are a great way to get the word out about your brand-new smart home device, as the winners will receive a reputation-boosting Best of the Smart Home stamp of approval, recognition among a wide audience of IoT enthusiasts, and visibility from major industry and technical experts

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This will be the first award contest in what we intend to make an annual tradition, so now’s the perfect time to get in on the ground floor. The winners will receive lots of opportunities for promotion, including featured webinars and blog posts on the Very website, making this a great opportunity for your business to win recognition, validation, and visibility. 

Whether you’ve got a smart thermostat, smart lighting, a home voice assistant, or another kind of innovative smart home product, now’s your opportunity to get it listed as one of the best smart home devices on the market. 

This article is a breakdown of the three award categories and an introduction to the judges who will be evaluating your products. 

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Recognizing the Best Smart Home Devices on the Market

Best Mobile UX


The mobile app experience is one of the major sticking points for a successful IoT project. That’s why our first category is Best Mobile UX. This award will go to the smart home solution with the most frictionless and intuitive mobile experience.

For this category, judges will evaluate the app’s design, functionality, and connectivity, as well as how it helps users accomplish their goals. If JavaScript is your jam and you’ve got UX in spades, submit your product for this award.

Best Use of Machine Learning


The phrase “smart home device” is a buzzword that’s used pretty ubiquitously for both connected and AI-enabled devices, often for marketing purposes — but in reality, what actually makes a smart device “smart” is having some kind of intelligent behavior that enables the device to react to real-world situations and even predict the needs of users.

That’s why our second award category is Best Use of Machine Learning. To determine the winner of this award, we’ll look at which product best uses ML to solve a problem with measurable results—keyword, measurable. We’ll evaluate how data is collected and analyzed within the solution, as well as the outcomes this produces for target users. If you have a rock star data scientist on your team, you may just be one step away from hoisting the trophy.

Best Physical UX 


Last but certainly not least, our third award category is best physical UX. In this category, the coolness factor will come out in full force. Got useful hardware? How about a visually stunning device? Is it both easy to use and durable enough to make it through the wash and survive getting run over by a car? I’m kidding—those aren’t actually our requirements, but if your device is that tough, then kudos to you—you’ve got a great shot at winning this award.

Introducing our Judges

Our judges know smart devices, and I’m incredibly honored to count myself among them. One of the reasons that I’m so excited about this contest is that I get to hear the perspectives of these other two judges who are true legends in the IoT-osphere.

Rob Tiffany

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First up, we’ve got Rob Tiffany, VP and Head of IoT Strategy at Ericsson (yes, the company that invented Erlang), and he’s loomed large in the IoT game for as long as the Internet of Things has even been a thing. During his 12 years at Microsoft, he held the title “Global Technology Lead: Internet of Things,” and he’s even served as the CTO and Global Product Manager for IoT at Hitachi. And I haven’t even mentioned that he’s also a bestselling author.

Not only does Rob have the street cred to back him up, but he’s also a seriously good man. He serves as the Executive Director at The Moab Foundation, a non-profit whose mission is “using connected intelligence to create a more sustainable world.” Rob is also a board member at Elevate Our Kids, a “non-profit organization to gather and distribute resources, computing devices, and learning tools to support in kids’ education in under-resourced communities.” We couldn’t be happier to have Rob as one of our judges.

Stacey Higginbotham

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Our second judge is Stacey Higginbotham, an illustrious writer, accomplished technologist, and editor of the IoT insights blog Stacey on IoT. When she’s not writing fresh content or optimizing her own smart home setup, you can find her co-hosting a pair of podcasts: the IoT Podcast and This Week in Google. You can find her writing in Fortune Magazine, PCMag, the MIT Tech Review, Gigaom, and many more publications.

Stacey brings more than just 20 years of tech experience to our judge’s bench. Stacey is also well-known for her ability to dive deep and tackle hard problems, such as IoT sustainability. I’m thrilled to have the chance to evaluate innovative products alongside her.

Bill Brock


Finally, there’s me: Bill Brock. After completing my M.S. in Computational Engineering, I spent some time working in software engineering before signing on with Very as a full-stack software developer. Now, as Very’s CTO, I’ve seen firsthand what a struggle it can be to even create a minimum viable product, let alone bring an impactful IoT solution to market.

I know the level of effort and planning that goes into these products, and that’s why I have nothing but admiration for the companies who are applying to the Best in The Smart Home Awards. All I can say is this is going to be fun.


What are you waiting for? You have until Friday, December 4th, 2020 to submit your application, and we will announce the winners on Monday, February 22, 2021. Check out the award website for all of the details and rules, and email with any questions you have about the contest.  

Apply for the awards now.

I can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.