Connected Devices Making Homes ‘Smarter’

From InStat/MDR’s press release:

As the prices and complexity of home networking products have decreased and as consumers have begun to demand more enabled products to plug into their networks, the Internet enabled smart home is getting closer to a reality, according to In-Stat/MDR (http://www.instat.com). However, the high-tech market research firm reports that the evolution of the smart home has not been happening as fast as most companies involved had predicted and that several factors will be crucial to the advancement of the enabled home and its associated products.

According to Cindy McCurley, an Industry Analyst with In-Stat/MDR, “Some of the major factors that will help drive this market include consumer education and household infrastructure, such as broadband, home networking penetration, and a growth in new home [Master Planned Community (MPC) or Multi-Dwelling Unit (MDU)] construction.” In-Stat/MDR finds that from a home networking perspective, interest in smart home networking, using a combination of technologies, has already increased. And, a projected increase from 35 million home networks worldwide by 2004 to nearly 98 million by 2008 bodes well for the adoption of smart products for the connected home.

However, McCurley points to three major considerations relating to the development of enabled products for the smart home. “Many of the products in this market are facing the problem of category creation, products need to be introduced that do not exploit technology for technology’s sake, but instead offer real solutions that people do need explained to them, and these products also need to be affordable and simple to install, or they will never take off.”

In-Stat/MDR has also found that:

  • Products that can be found in today’s smart home market include: enabled kitchen and counter appliances, like refrigerators, microwaves, and bread makers; security products, like cameras and sensors; and consumer electronics products, such as DVD players, TVs, and set top boxes. While only a few products in each of these segments exist today, as the enabled smart home reaches more households, manufacturers are prepared to meet consumer demand.
  • Asia, with its 45.4 million DSL subscribers, represents an attractive target market for smart home networks and products.
  • In the home control and monitoring segment, some companies are already offering services that enable many types of products around the home. These services generally require professional installation and a monthly fee, but offer homeowners peace of mind, convenience, energy savings, and reductions on insurance. Other, less complex solutions, which the homeowner can install himself, are also available. The number of companies offering these services, and the types of control offered will increase as interest in enabled smart homes continues to grow.
  • Enabled products, such as those that can be found in the kitchen and living room, are beginning to appear in larger numbers. These products are being offered by large manufacturers, as well as by smaller companies, but concerns about standards, functionality and pricing still concern manufacturers that do not want to risk brand erosion on unsuccessful products.

The report, Internet Based Home Control and Enabled Products: Today’s Smart Home (#IN0401161ID), covers the Internet enabled smart home with regard to smart home networks and products. While home networking and automation can be done without accessing the Internet, this report only focuses on those solutions and products that can be plugged into the Internet enabled home network. Drivers such as consumer education, the state of household infrastructure and the type of community in which consumers live that affect the enabled smart home market are discussed in the first section of the report. In addition, the number of US households online, US and worldwide broadband and home network penetration, and master planned communities are forecasted and analyzed. Technologies, market drivers, and trends for products in the smart home are discussed in the second half of the report. In-Stat/MDR divides the product segments for the smart home into two categories: home control and monitoring and networked consumer electronics. The home control and monitoring category is further divided into three segments, devices used for control of the home such as lighting and HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning), home security products like network cameras, and home appliances, such as those found in the kitchen or laundry room. Networked or IP enabled Consumer Electronics (CE) are expanding to include most consumer electronics products.

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