BT poaches Vodafone smart tech execs

Former Vodafone exec Tom Guy and his team have jumped ship to oversee BT's start-up accelerator programme.

Nick Wood

February 8, 2022

2 Min Read
BT HQ One Braham logo

Former Vodafone exec Tom Guy and his team have jumped ship to oversee BT’s start-up accelerator programme.

BT announced Guy has been appointed Managing Director of Incubation. A division within BT Digital, it’s tasked with finding and fostering companies that offer new connected products and product categories relevant to any area of BT’s business.

“I’m looking forward to joining BT Digital at such an exhilarating time for the unit and the business as a whole. Together with colleagues and partners, we’ll help to build a customer-centric digital organisation, one which brings new products and services to our customers and creates new opportunities for the business. I’m excited to get started,” said Guy, in a statement.

He will be joined by Jess Kyte, John Gutch, Zoe Dyer, and Michael O’Connell. These appointments represent a bit of a coup for BT, because this is the team responsible for Vodafone’s multiple award-winning ‘Designed and Connected By’ range of consumer IoT products. The range includes GPS trackers for luggage, bicycles and pets, as well as a smartwatch for children.

Before Vodafone, Guy and his colleagues were members of the team that founded Hive. Owned by British energy firm Centrica, Hive was one of the early smart thermostat offerings. Today it offers a broader range of smart home products, including connected cameras, motion sensors, lighting, plugs, EV charging, and leak sensors.

A report by Omdia last September said that globally 19 percent of households connected to broadband owned a smart home device in 2020, up from 10 percent in 2017. Omdia also said the global smart home market was worth $60.8 billion in 2020, and that it is expected to exceed $178.5 billion in 2025. During the coming years, Omdia expects that more newly built houses will come already equipped with smart home capability. In the US, Omdia expects that by 2025, 13 million devices will be installed per year as part of house construction.

Given the projected growth in adoption and market value, the smart home market still represents a lucrative opportunity for home connectivity providers like BT. The telco, including its mobile arm EE, already resells a broad range of smart home products, from hub devices like Google Home and Amazon Echo, to smart security, heating and lighting equipment.

By bringing in Guy and his team, BT Incubation doubtless hopes to find ‘the next big thing’ in IoT. And with that team’s track record, it might just.

About the Author(s)

Nick Wood

Nick is a freelancer who has covered the global telecoms industry for more than 15 years. Areas of expertise include operator strategies; M&As; and emerging technologies, among others. As a freelancer, Nick has contributed news and features for many well-known industry publications. Before that, he wrote daily news and regular features as deputy editor of Total Telecom. He has a first-class honours degree in journalism from the University of Westminster.

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