While many smart products still struggle to raise demand and are currently working on awaking awareness among consumers, smart homes have already hit the adoption phase. In the Americas alone, the smart homes market brought in just under $1 billion in 2015 and is projected to hit $11.7 billion in 2016. And while the United States leads the western world in smart home adoption at 10-15%, Europe and East Asia are not far behind. Yet how people utilize smart products in their home is still in part a mystery, leading researchers to explore how technology can make lives easier in interesting ways, like the Canadian university that hooked up 100 dormitory rooms with sensors. One thing is clear: in order for manufactures to succeed with smart home products, they must target consumer’s greatest concerns and interests: security, savings, and simplicity.
Smart home security
Security is the most important concern for homeowners, more important than the price they pay for products, smart or otherwise. Given this fact, it’s not surprising that security cameras accounted for 61% of U.S. “home-automation industry revenues” from June 2015 to June 2016, according the NPD’s Connected Intelligence Service. Smart doors, smart safes and smart locks that let owners personalize their security systems are in high demand, especially in combination with video cameras and video monitoring systems. With customized settings to create recognized users, alarms sent to the owner’s smartphone in case of an attempted break-in, and other innovative features. It’s no wonder that securing homes has been a winning idea in the world of smart home products.
Smart homes save electricity, lower energy bills
A second major concern of homeowners which leads them to buy smart products is savings. Between 40-60% of energy consumption in most homes stems from thermal regulation. Double glazed windows and caulking only go so far, and a swath of products entered the market in the last few years to upgrade thermal efficiency in the home. Smart products like the Nest thermostat and Dimplex help lower energy bills even further, as do innovative smart window shades that can be opened or closed remotely. Consumers have discovered that the energy savings from these smart devices more than compensates for their initial purchase price.
Savings from smart products go beyond the bills. Homeowners see high financial value in IoT, leading to potentially higher real estate value for houses with integrated smart devices and smart home systems. This is not merely hypothetical; today even old homes are selling for higher prices thanks to the Internet of Things. Smart systems are one more way for homeowners to set their homes apart on the market and raise market value.
Smart home systems
Homeowners like simplicity, and smart home devices are providing an answer to that need. A total of 79% of shoppers in one survey already owned a smart device, with thermostats making up the majority of products owned at 38% (19% owned home security products, and another 17% owned smart lighting devices). Products such as the iDevices Smart Home Kit, which turns any socket into a port for smart products, is integrated with Alexa and Apple smart systems. As time goes on, more and more products will be pre-integrated, enabling users to choose their preferred smart device from any brand and create one system for simplified operation in their home.
Beyond simplicity, another reason for the success of smart home systems lies in the cultural psyche of Hollywood and television. Lighting and heating systems that turn on when you step out of bed, or a coffee machine that starts automatically…these are all reminiscent of scenes from fantasy and sci-fi movies from as far back as the 1950’s and 1960’s, appearing in everything from The Jetsons and “Chitty Chitty Bang Bang” to “Back to the Future”. Much as a great deal of modern technological design was inspired by sci-fi television shows, smart homes owe their success to the imagination of the cultural consciousness. Now it’s become a reality and consumers are excited to be part of that high-tech trend.
The buzz around smart homes is still growing – and so is the business value. Manufacturers who want to join the IoT ecosystem should consider how their potential smart product would contribute to user’s sense of security, lower their bills, raise their real estate value and simplify smart device management. Reaching these targets by offering unique smart features ensures a smart home use case would attract an audience that is already searching for smart home solutions.