The smart home promise vs. reality

Let’s begin with what we, the industry, accept as a truism: Sometime in the near future, the gadgets we see today that control and automate our homes will form the basis of an enormous market. Most people will be able to say that their home is connected and that it is smart.

To achieve that goal, we need to meet a few preconditions from the perspective of the consumer and the value chain: deliver well-communicated, valuable experiences that people are willing to pay for as well as a trusted service provider of these valuable services.

Thus far, with all the advances made on the technology side of things, a disturbing chasm has developed between the promise of the smart home and the reality.

Research firms, such as Strategy Analytics, predict that the smart home products and services market will reach $100 billion by 2019, which represents 224 million households worldwide. Indeed, the many point devices and whole-home solutions already available seem to support these assertions when considering the range of smart products that can do fantastic things in our homes.

The reality, however, does not support the numbers. Among homes with broadband connection, only 14% worldwide have any type of “smart” device. The percentage of total houses worldwide with any type of smart device is only 5% (Strategy Analytics), and growth has not increased significantly since 2007. This stagnation is puzzling in light of the explosion in the use of smartphones, the very technology that should, in theory, have driven smart home adoption to a similar rate of growth.

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