While the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for a lot of industries and has seemingly pressured the closure of different companies for good, the identical can’t be stated of the home safety market. With folks spending extra time in their properties customers naturally started taking a higher curiosity in the facilities of their residences. This has subsequently resulted in elevated adoption of safety techniques and gadgets throughout the board.
However, with a higher variety of Americans changing into vaccinated and venturing again into faculties, workplaces, and different public settings, the query now turns into how will the trade keep this progress and what options in the offing stand poised to maintain customers in the expertise? This was one of many focuses of Parks Associates’ annual CONNECTIONS convention, which was held just about earlier this week.
The Smart Home Tech Landscape
According to Parks Associates’ newest analysis, the quantity of U.S. customers that now personal not less than one smart home gadget has doubled (17% in This fall 2015 to 34% in This fall 2020) over the past 5 years. The variety of “Power Users,” which the market analysis agency defines as people who personal between 5 and 9 such gadgets, has additionally grown considerably, doubling in simply the final two years.
In a keynote presentation highlighting among the key drivers for the smart home market, Jennifer Kent, Vice President of Research at Parks Associates, famous that greater than a 3rd (36%) of U.S. households have had not less than one member of the family working from home in the course of the pandemic whereas one in 5 had a member of the family attending college just about. This subsequently drove demand for broadband web service in addition to elevated familiarization with and funding in expertise in the home.
“While many households tightened their wallets, spending on technology rose as did spending on improvements so consumers’ spaces could support them and work for them in new ways,” Kent explains. “Ultimately, industry players need to understand how consumer needs have changed and modify or invent solutions that meet them.”
Kent drew a correlation between the uptick in adoption with falling tech and repair costs. For instance, community digital camera consumers paid an common of $189 per gadget in 2017, in contrast with $136 in 2020. Prices of smart thermostats have additionally fallen significantly, dropping from a median of $177 to $111 over the identical timeframe.
Changing Market Dynamics
Anne Ferguson, VP of Marketing at Alarm.com, stated the trade is in a powerful place heading into the remainder of 2021 given how the pandemic fueled a convergence of safety and smart home tech that had been occurring organically previous to the beginning of lockdowns.
“What has happened is that as people were in their homes, we really started to see people thinking differently about security,” Ferguson explains. “It transitioned from just being about perimeter protection, which is what it had been for such a long time, to people thinking about security in a much more holistic way. Security became, for example, who is coming in my door? Maybe it is a welcomed person coming in my front door, but I want to see that person, I want to be able to control that front door experience because a lot of us, for a long time, didn’t want people – even friends – coming in our front door. Similarly, we saw a real increase in the use of indoor video as well. We’ve also seen cases where smart home technology has allowed individuals to stay connected with, in particular, elderly members of their family who might not have been residing with them.”
Michele Turner, Senior Director of Product Management for the Smart Home Ecosystem at Google Nest, a part of the Google/Thread Group, says safety is absolutely “foundational” with regards to investing in smart home tech for many customers, however that reasonably than buy a whole-home safety system with month-to-month monitoring, many individuals are beginning small with maybe do-it-yourself options and including on from there.
“We’re seeing users start their smart home journey with just a smart camera, doorbell or door lock and then they just extend further into the smart home from there,” Turner says. “What’s really interesting about this area is we are meeting users where they are at. If they want to get started with just something basic they can do that for under $100 today or if they have just had a major life event – whether you just had a baby, your aging parents need to get a little more protection at their homes and you want to keep an eye on them and make sure their home is secured, or perhaps you have just had a break in – some of those major life events are when people step up their security.”
Daniel Cooley, Chief Technology Officer for Silicon Labs, maker of SoCs (System-on-Chip) for smart home gadgets, stated that the pandemic accelerated practically each digital pattern that existed by a number of years, driving big demand for Internet of Things (IoT) services, however he believes the largest pattern impacted by the unfold of the coronavirus is well being in the home.
“We’ve had a very baseline health technology in the home for a long time with connected weight scales or maybe a sleep monitor or CPAP machine but these devices that are out there started to grow in volume, number one, and we’re starting to see much more reliance from medical infrastructure to try to get folks out of clinical settings as much as possible,” Cooley says. “That, I think, will be particularly pronounced once the pandemic is over.”
Improving Interoperability and Portability
One of the largest obstacles for the smart home market traditionally has been interoperability challenges and a fragmentation of requirements. However, trade executives say the current announcement by the Connectivity Standards Alliance (previously the ZigBee Alliance) and its new “Matter” commonplace (previously Project Connected Home over IP or CHIP, for brief) may very well be a game-changer for the market.
“Interoperability is one of the gating items to IoT’s growth right now. Frankly, it is one of the hardest problems to solve,” Cooley says. “At the highest level, the CSA was created out of a recognition that no one standard is winning in the IoT. We need a way for higher levels of interoperability to come together in the cloud, in the gateway, and security models that are consistent across them. If you are switching your smart home platform maybe from a Google to an Apple platform, you don’t want to have to buy new door locks for your house or a new thermostat. That would be a non-starter.”
Turner echoed this sentiment with regards to the portability of smart home tech and shifting it from one residence to the opposite as effectively.
“We, as an industry, need to start addressing that because it has been challenging,” she provides. “I actually just went through this in the middle of last year and it was one of the things I dreaded most – trying to get all of those devices up and running and getting everything factory reset. That’s an area where device makers need to do better.”
Perhaps an even bigger difficulty, in keeping with Turner, is platform portability, which the Matter commonplace ought to assist with.
“Let’s say you’ve had Alexa devices in your home, and somebody gives you a Google Home hub and you say, ‘wow, I like this for various reasons, but I would like my lights to work with this.’ Before it wasn’t easy to get everything working consistently in your home. With Matter, because we’re making this portable across the ecosystems, it is going to be very simple to be able to switch between systems,” she says.
About the Author:
Joel Griffin is the Editor of SecurityInfoWatch.com and a veteran safety journalist. You can attain him at firstname.lastname@example.org.