The Growth of the Connected Home
Whether you call it the connected home, smart home or home automation, it is a hub of activity for connectivity and sensor solutions. While mainstream adoption may still be years away, we know this market is poised for growth. It represents an important opportunity for consumer product manufacturers from devices to appliances, security and lighting, to deliver products that are differentiated with new functionality and connectivity.
A Consumer View
Today’s market is fragmented and standards differ. The killer application does not yet exist. Vendors are competing for mindshare with their own version of walled gardens or individual platform standards. What is clear is that there is no one approach or obvious leader today. The migration towards home automation is based on do-it-yourself product solutions versus an integrated home solution. Consumers are confused and the industry is not helping the situation.
The idea of a home hub, long held by the personal computing OEMs to be the future of the home pc, is now very much up for grabs. For now, the primary control device remains the smartphone or tablet. Yet, we see new products entering the market, including digital assistants like Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa, as well as familiar appliances reappearing with new features enabled by sensing and connectivity. All of these products are competing for a bigger share of mind and control in the home. Samsung is promoting both the smart refrigerator and smart TV as a family hub. The company is using technology from Smart Things, which it bought in 2014, to add home automation technology across their product line. In this example, the two products represent very different strategies and demonstrate both the uncertainty of the primary device, as well as the importance of placing early bets. We are in a period we call “exploration”. We do not know what the outcome will be from a lead device or must-have functionality, but we know that the market is changing rapidly and successful companies are proactively developing and testing new solutions to bring to market.
- 32% of online shoppers own at least one smart home device.
- 22% own connected smoke detectors, which was the highest among devices included in the survey. An additional 22% of respondents intend to purchase a connected smoke detector in the future.
- While only 11% currently own connected lighting products, 26% intend to purchase them in the future. This ranked as the top smart home device consumers intended to purchase in the future.
- Security was ranked as an important feature of a connected home device by 70% of the respondents, more than any other feature. 69% said price is one of the most important features, and 66% cited ease of installation.
Smart connectivity is just a starting point. Connectivity enables the sharing of information and the ability to monitor and control. As artificial intelligence matures and proliferates devices will leverage complicated analysis in the cloud to deliver actionable insights back to users and systems within the connected home. Automation will eventually make routine tasks or chores easier and perhaps
invisible. As new value propositions are shaped, we expect to see simplification, increased efficiencies (saving both time and money), and a level of service beyond what can be delivered today.
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