Top 5 Smart Home Technology TrendsAndrei Klubnikin
In an attempt to decrease water and energy consumption, cut operating costs and automate time-consuming processes, both businesses and ordinary households turn to sensors, IoT gadgets and mobile apps. As a result, the global Home Automation market is growing at a CAGR of 12.46% and will top $ 78 billion by 2022. If you consider building a connected home solution, too, make sure to check these Smart Home trends for 2017 and beyond!
Top 5 trends in home automation
- Voice control. The global speech recognition market will reach $ 12 billion in just five years. Facebook, Kik and Telegram chatbots are on track to revolutionize e-commerce and content consumption. Google Research now urges software vendors to design apps with accessibility in mind. It’s no wonder voice interfaces have become one of the biggest UX trends for the near future! The voice recognition technology impacts home automation, too. You’ve certainly heard about Amazon Echo, a stylish speaker which orchestrates your playlists, reads audio books and arranges rides with Uber using the Alexa smart assistant. There’s also Triby, a portable Alexa-powered kitchen device enabling users to control other IoT gadgets (including Nest thermostats and Philips smart bulbs), manage daily schedules and leave messages for their family. Voice control options provide a new level of convenience for all types of users including homeowners and employees with special needs. There are over 10 million people with disabilities in the USA alone; it’s a huge (and largely underdeveloped!) market. Why not get in early and… dominate for years?
- Focus on security. The primary goal of Home Automation is to bring digital devices and ordinary “dumb” objects with no in-built connectivity together and create an easily manageable wireless network, thus eliminating human-to-computer interactions. However, 50% of companies that took part in the 451 Research last year cited security threats as the key obstacle to IoT deployments. Forget about hacked baby monitors speaking in weird voices and not-so-smart refrigerators stealing email credentials. Last October Dyn, a US-based Internet performance management company which was later acquired by Oracle, faced the largest DDoS attack caused by a botnet of surveillance cameras and Wi-Fi routers. Several months later CloudPets plush toys exposed 2 million messages recorded between parents and kids to hackers; it turned out it was possible to connect to the IoT toys from a webpage without any authentication! If you want to enter the competitive Smart Home market, make sure to address a reliable vendor who keeps up with the latest security and technology trends and has worked on similar solutions before;
- Increased integration. Although multiple devices within a Smart Home system are meant to work in sync, the global Home Automation environment is currently dominated by several vendors (Nest, Apple, Amazon, Belkin, etc.) who want users to keep on buying their devices and aren’t really interested in bringing the interoperability concept to life. This year, we’ll see more companies cooperating on interoperability projects. One of the early examples came from Invoxia, a French startup that received funding from Amazon and brought Alexa to Triby. Amazon Echo also works with Philips Hue LED lights and Nest thermostats. Qualcomm will release “Swiss Army chips” supporting Android Things, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Web Services later this year. Things are slowly but surely changing for the better. Provided you plan your integration strategy early on, you’ll get a competitive advantage over your rivals;
- Do-it-yourself solutions. With iBeacons, Philips Hue Starter Pack, Amazon Echo and out-of-the-box solutions like Raspberry PI and WunderBar, building a simple Home Automation solution is a no-brainer. However, there’s no talking about business use here: even if you have coding experience, you aren’t likely to put up a secure Connected Home system yourself. Also, new Smart Home hubs are released to the market. The latest Apple TV, for example, has the potential to become the universal hub for Apple products, thus replacing iPhone and iOS apps in the long run. Consider making a simple user-oriented solution enabling customers to enhance dumb objects with sensors and take an alternative approach to managing connected devices;
- Effective energy and water management. The Edge, the world’s most intelligent and energy efficient building which is occupied by Deloitte Amsterdam employees, is perhaps the closest we’ve got to Home Automation so far. The building uses sensor-powered LED and photovoltaic panels which accumulate solar energy, detect unoccupied rooms and manage HVAC systems accordingly. As a result, it consumes 70% less energy than buildings of that size. Although US and UK households are somehow reluctant to install smart water meters, the gadgets can save up to $ 14 billion in water losses every year. Bring real value to users, get your arguments straight – and success will follow.
Although we do encourage you to follow these Smart Home tech trends, we also acknowledge the challenges that may keep you away from success. According to Pavel Shylenok, CTO at R-Style Lab, building a complex home automation system costs as much as $ 5 million (including research and hardware manufacturing expenses). Interoperability still prevents IoT devices from going mainstream. And yes, most existing Smart Home products are surprisingly dumb.
Still, 24% of US households reportedly purchased Home Automation solutions (including smart bulbs and thermostats) last year. By 2025, the number of connected households will reach 66%. As long as you partner with an experienced vendor, make use of public APIs to provide support for as many connected gadgets as possible and simplify the setup process, you’re doomed to success.