3 segments of the smart home market and a quick look at who’s leading them…
The vision of the smart home has been around for decades, and not just in science fiction. Building automation has been a growing trend in commercial settings, with everything from motion-sensing lighting rigs to network-connected security systems becoming mainstays of modern facilities. The recent rise of the Internet of Things has led to device and connectivity advances that make these intelligent building solutions more accessible, fueling genuine momentum in the smart home sector.
Research from MarketsandMarkets predicted that the smart home sector will rise at a compound annual growth rate of approximately 14 percent from 2016 through 2022. By the time 2022 rolls around, that market increase will mean annual revenues of approximately $121.73 billion.
Technologies such as Amazon’s Alexa hub or Hue’s customizable light bulbs get a great deal of attention as popular solutions in the growing smart home market, but a close look at a few leading brands highlights the segmented nature of the sector. Three key smart home segments, and the brands leading these divisions, are:
1. Controlling the home
Solutions that emphasize giving people more control of and visibility into their homes are a major application of the Internet of Things. Connected thermostats, security cameras, smoke alarms and similar solutions enable individuals to not only identify what is happening in their homes at any given time, but also change the environment based on their preferences.
Nest is among the leaders in this segment, as its technology tends to be designed to appear clean, modern and user-friendly, hiding the complexity of controlling a home through the internet under the surface of modern, somewhat minimalist user interfaces. This makes Nest products stand out in distinction to more utilitarian solutions that dig deeper into how a home functions.
2. Commanding critical infrastructure
Where Nest deals with extremely important components of homes, some solutions focus on allowing users control over some of the underlying infrastructure within a house. The WeMo product line from belkin is a prime example of this trend, as its combination of smart outlets, intelligent light bulbs and even connected light switches give users greater control of what devices can access power and when they can do so.
3. Giving appliances a degree of autonomy
A smart home wouldn’t be complete without television sets, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, microwaves and similar appliances that can interact with one another and adjust their functionality based on your usage patterns. A CNET report identified LG as one of the strongest players in this segment. Besides offering a wide range of connected appliances and electronic devices, LG recently showed off its LG Hub robot at CES 2017 to highlight how a central controller can be used to coordinate activities across intelligent appliances within the home.
There’s a great deal of crossover here. Nest and belkin both offer security cameras, for example. However, the way different brands emphasize specific types of products highlights the fragmented nature of the smart home sector. Research from the IEEE pointed out that disparate connectivity protocols and standards within the smart home market remains one of the major challenges facing businesses. As brands continue to advance the smart home, advances in programming, infrastructure design and hardware engineering are all necessary in turning the intelligent building dream into an accessible, easy-to-use reality.