Vivint ramps up disruptive innovation with Matt Eyring

Home automation company Vivint -- which said its monthly revenue jumped 940 percent over the past five years -- is showing no signs of slowing down since being acquired for $2 billion by private equity firm Blackstone Group last fall.

The Provo, Utah-based maker of home automation systems is pursuing a set of audacious goals for its solar installation division, aiming to increase its customer count almost sevenfold to more than 10,000 in 2013 and become the No. 1 solar installer in the U.S., reported Bloomberg in October. If it's successful, that would vault Vivint ahead of industry leader SolarCity, which has a 16 percent market share of residential solar installations in the second quarter of last year compared to Vivint's 1 percent share.

And a new high-profile hire is leading the charge: Matt Eyring recently came on board as the company's chief strategy and innovation officer.

Eyring spent the last decade as a managing partner at Innosight, an innovation consulting firm co-founded by innovation guru and Harvard Business School professor Clay Christensen. Christensen is best known for his disruptive innovation concept, which describes how a product or service establishes itself near the bottom of a market and moves up while overtaking more established players.

Eyring is bringing some of those lessons to Vivint.

"Vivint is filling a big space in home automation," said Eyring. "It's a classic case of disruptive innovation: A lot of players that are expensive or had some sort of low-end home security system. There was a missing middle. Vivint has really hit that sweet spot with a business model that allows affordability."

The solar part of the business -- called Vivint Solar -- is another area where Eyring believes Vivint can be a disruptive player and experience major growth.

"The business model [in solar] has a very high barrier for customer entry. Getting that thing installed on the roof is a cumbersome process," he said. "[Vivint] has made it easy and quick. They will drive the economics of the industry. I think you'll see fairly soon an integrated panel showing power generation and consumption. … There will be much more energy awareness at a detailed level."

For a more uniform customer experience, Vivint is also planning on bringing in engineering talent from 2GIG, a home automation panel manufacturer. Blackstone purchased 2GIG along with Vivint in the $2 billion deal that closed in November.

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