A smart home refers to a convenient home setup where appliances and devices can be automatically controlled remotely from anywhere with an internet connection using a mobile or other networked device. Devices in a smart home are interconnected through the internet, allowing the user to control functions such as security access to the home, temperature, lighting, and a home theater remotely.
Classic smart home, internet of things, cloud computing and rule-based event processing, are the building blocks of advanced smart home. Each component contributes its core attributes and technologies to the proposed composition. IoT contributes the internet connection and remote management of mobile appliances, incorporated with a variety of sensors. Sensors may be attached to home related appliances, such as air-conditioning, lights and other environmental devices. And so, it embeds computer intelligence into home devices to provide ways to measure home conditions and monitor home appliances’ functionality. Cloud computing provides scalable computing power, storage space and applications, for developing, maintaining, running home services, and accessing home devices anywhere at anytime. The rule-based event processing system provides the control and orchestration of the entire advanced smart home composition.
Installing a smart home technology system provides homeowners with convenience. Rather than controlling appliances, thermostats, lighting, and other features using different devices, homeowners can control them all using one device—a smartphone, tablet, laptop, or game console. Door locks, televisions, thermostats, home monitors, cameras, lights, and even appliances such as the refrigerator can be controlled through one home automation system and the user can create time schedules for certain changes to take effect.
Since they’re connected to a portable device, users can get notifications and updates on issues in their homes. For instance, smart doorbells allow homeowners to see and communicate with people who come to their doors even when they’re not at home. Users can set and control the internal temperature, lighting, and appliances as well. For the cost of setting up the smart system, homeowners can benefit from significant cost savings. Appliances and electronics can be used more efficiently, lowering energy costs.
While the smart home offers convenience and cost savings, there are still challenges. Security risks and bugs continue to plague makers and users of the technology. Adept hackers, for example, can gain access to a smart home’s internet-enabled appliances. In October 2016, a botnet called Mirai infiltrated interconnected devices of DVRs, cameras, and routers to bring down a host of major websites through a denial of service attack, also known as a DDoS attack. Measures to mitigate the risks of such attacks include protecting smart appliances and devices with a strong password, using encryption when available and only connecting trusted devices to one’s network.
Smart home technology
As noted above, the costs of installing smart technology can run anywhere from a few thousand dollars for a wireless system to tens of thousands of dollars for a hardwired system. It’s a heavy price to pay, especially since there may be a steep learning curve to get used to the system for everyone in the household.
If you want to have one central router that connects all of your smart devices together, you can’t go wrong with the Samsung SmartThings Hub. It supports nearly all wireless protocols, along with Alexa and Google Assistant voice commands and more, for easy home automation.
One of the main reason for getting a smart home is due to Comfort they provide. Smart light bulbs are probably among the first buys for most users. You can can turn on/off smart lights using voice commands, location rules, sensor detection, or even simple schedules. Imagine the effect of pressing a button and dramatically changing the lighting ambience and the visual environment in a living space.
Many smart lighting systems work perfectly well without a central hub and are still capable of interacting with other smart home elements. Bulbs from LIFX and TP-Link, for example, communicate over Wi-Fi, while some others communicate via the Bluetooth radio in your smartphone. Still other smart bulbs, including Philips Hue, Cree, and Sengled Element, rely on ZigBee radios and therefore must have a ZigBee-to-Wi-Fi bridge connected to your router. Philips Hue lights are pretty much available everywhere, and they aren’t too expensive once you get through the initial purchase of the bridge and first lights. You can control any of these smart bulbs with an app on your smartphone or tablet, which you can also use to program lighting scenes and schedules.
If most of your home’s lighting is in the ceiling and controlled by a switch on the wall, you might be better served by replacing those dumb switches with smart switches and dimmers, instead. That’s because a smart bulb becomes dumb the instant you turn off the switch controlling it. Leviton, TP-Link, Lutron, Ecobee, and other manufacturers make smart light switches that operate on your Wi-Fi network and don’t require a central hub. Noon Home’s system is a super sophisticated, but relatively expensive, lighting control system. If you use lamps for most of your lighting, a smart plug such as the Wemo Mini will enable you to turn the lamp on and off—and dim its dumb light bulb—with a smartphone app.
With the advent of standardized home automation platforms, today it is easier to control lights using smartphones. Automated window blinds and video doorbells are also making homes more comfortable or safe. However, there is also an issue that there are multiple operating systems are available, creating mix-up and tricky to find compatible devices and making a seamless experience. Thus, it is significant for smart home devices manufacturers to ensure their products and services will work on platforms provided by Amazon, Google, Apple, among others to capture the largest customer base. As more products and protocols are unified, it will take the guesswork out of purchasing home automation products, and make them easier to set up and operate.
In December 2019, Amazon, Apple, Google, and the Zigbee Alliance entered into a collaboration to form a new working group that will develop and promote the adoption of a new, royalty-free connectivity standard to increase compatibility among smart home products, with security as a fundamental design tenet.
In May 2019, Amazon launched the newest addition to the Echo Show product family—Echo Show 5. Along with its compact design, 5.5-inch display, rich sound, HD camera, and built-in camera shutter, Echo Show 5 comprises updated smart home controls, customizable morning and evening routines, new privacy features, and more visual content.
In October 2018, Johnson Controls International (Ireland) acquired Lux Products Corporation (US), a leading provider of residential thermostats and smart products. LUX markets several successful residential and commercial product lines ranging from timers to smart home thermostats, including Kono and Geo.
In July 2018, Siemens AG (Germany) company added new functionalities to the Synco IC cloud platform for remote heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) control. Therefore, Synco IC now includes remote meter reading for energy billing, remote monitoring of energy key performance indicators (KPIs), and remote intervention to reduce energy consumption.
In June 2018, United Technologies Corporation (US) introduced the next-generation touchscreen displays for i-Vu building automation systems to help to build operators better manage their HVAC equipment.
Cost/energy savings, Smart thermostats
Few smart home devices can match a smart thermostat’s ability to deliver both comfort and cost/energy savings. For many, the driving force behind creating a smart home is the potential to save energy and money with automated heating and air conditioning systems. Smart thermostats, such as those made by Alphabet’s subsidiary Nest, quickly and precisely automate the heating and cooling of a home. This usually reduces the owners’ electric bill. Other products such as connected lights and appliances can use less energy by powering down when not in use. These kinds of products should be high up on anyone’s smart home checklist.
These devices go far beyond establishing a heating and cooling schedule based on when you anticipate being home to enjoy those benefits. They can detect when you’re home and when you’re away, so that your HVAC system operates only when it’s needed.
The leader in connected heating, Alphabet’s subsidiary has created a smart thermostat that keeps your house automatically dialed to temperatures you like. It can also respond to voice commands for both Google Home and Amazon Echo speakers.
The latest trend on this front is to equip thermostats with sensors that you can put in the rooms you occupy most frequently, so that the thermostat operates on the basis of where you are in the house, instead of triggering heating and cooling cycles based on the thermostat’s location, which is typically in a hallway you only ever pass through. The Ecobee4 is our current favorite smart thermostat because it comes with both sensors and integrated Amazon Echo smart speaker. We also like the offerings from Nest Labs, the company that did the most to jumpstart the smart thermostat market.
HVAC controls: Smart home owners today have the ability to control and monitor the HVAC system in the house. Not only is control possible, monitoring with two-way feedback allows energy saving when certain areas do not need conditioning.
Entertainment has become an essential part of life as it provides relaxation and rejuvenation. A multi-room entertainment control system allows the user to centralize all connected devices and then listen to, watch, and control that equipment from every room in the house simultaneously or independently. Major control systems used in smart homes are audio, volume, and multimedia room controls. The growth of the market for audio, volume, and multimedia room controls is driven by the convenience offered for managing as well as controlling the entertainment systems within a house.
This technology can also keep you entertained and informed in new and exciting ways. Connected speakers, combined with AI-based digital assistants, can play music, offer news and sports scores, and can even help you control other connected devices as well. Connected devices can also find a good film to watch, either at home or in a real movie theater.
The advancement in wireless communication technologies is a major factor boosting the growth of the home theater system control market, thereby driving the overall smart home market for entertainment and other controls. The large market share of this segment can be attributed to the high penetration rate of products such as smart meters and smoke detectors. The increasing cost of electricity is a major concern that drives household consumers toward energy savings. Moreover, the rising popularity of smart plugs, smart hubs, and smart locks are fueling the adoption of control systems.
Automation of A/V devices: The ability to control all AV devices from a single touch panel, User-friendly macros, where in a sequence of operations happens every time a button in enabled, assists the user. For e.g. pressing the movie “scene” in a living room could dim lights, turn on the TV, turn on the Amplifier, turn on the Blue Ray player and also draw the curtains etc. all with just one press of the movie button, on your smart phone.
Media distribution, storage and display: With the ever-increasing demands on resolution (4k TV, 8k TV etc.), it is important that we lay the wiring/hardware capable of transmitting the highest resolution in picture and audio possible, at least as of today. Media could be and should be available to be played anywhere in the house, from the cloud or from a local Media server.
Sophisticated multi-room speaker systems from the likes of Sonos, Yamaha (MusicCast), and Denon (HEOS) are largely self-contained, enabling you to drop speakers in multiple rooms in your home so you can stream music from your own collection or from online services such as Spotify to all of them in sync, or to send different tracks to each one.
What’s more convenient than pulling out your smartphone to dim the lights on movie night? Saying “dim the lights” and having a smart speaker linked to your smart lighting do it for you. The Amazon Echo series and Google Home series are the market leaders in this space. And while Amazon has held the lead for the past few years—it has a much larger installed base, has enjoyed much broader support, and had the only smart speakers with displays for a time—Google is coming on very strong.
And because these smart speakers have been so widely embraced by other smart home device manufacturers, they have become de facto hubs in their own right, serving as a central interaction point for everything from smart lights to home security cameras, displaying video feeds from the latter on connected TVs or their own displays, if equipped.
You can find plenty of smart speakers, the most popular featuring the Google Assistant or Amazon Alexa digital assistants. Some can get pretty complex, so we believe your best bet is to go with one of the smaller, more affordable smart speakers. These would be either the Amazon Echo Dot or the Google Nest Mini.
You’ll increasingly find the two companies’ digital assistants—Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant—in unique third-party products. Ecobee puts the guts of an Echo in its Ecobee4 smart thermostat and Ecobee Switch+ smart switch, while Lenovo was first to market with Google Home devices outfitted with displays (the Lenovo Smart Display series).
While you can buy alarm systems to protect your home, smart homes can offer added security. Connected lights, cameras, and even doorbells can help make a home safer. If you’re home alone and someone is checking out your house to see if they can break in, having these kinds of devices might scare them off. A quality home security camera will enable you to keep a watchful eye on your home, especially while you’re away. Indoor models can help you monitor your children and pets, while outdoor models can catch prowlers in the act—and hopefully discourage them from coming around in the first place.
Some models—from Ring, Netatmo, and Maximus—incorporate lights that can illuminate your way. Cameras incorporated into doorbells can monitor your front porch and let you interact with visitors without needing to approach the door—or even be home at the time.
The Ring Video Doorbell 3 Plus is a solid entry in the video doorbell market. It offers Full HD resolution, a quick-release rechargeable battery, and pre-roll footage for capturing those important pre-doorbell press moments. It’s a solid option for those invested in Amazon’s smart home ecosystem, but other options might be better for Google-based homes or privacy-minded folk.
While security systems have existed for a long long time, the smart home has a security system that is integrated with the rest of the house controls. For e.g. when the security system detects an intrusion, it starts flashing the lighting in the entire house on/off. It sends a notification to the home owner phone and scares away a potential intruder.
All of the above systems should be seamlessly available on customer touchpanel/smart home through a customized user interface that is easy to understand and to use. Every electronic device that has a remote is virtually available to the home owner from within or from outside the house. IOT or Internet of things is a term used to suggest connectivity of all such devices via the internet. Today voice recognition and voice commands are being offered to clients as part of the home automation technology. The key however for any home owner would be – Ease of use, and reliability. Remember -The Smart Home should NOT require a home owner to be technologically smart
If you want to take some of the tedious tasks of home care out of your hands, connected and automated devices have you covered there too. The most obvious device is the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner from iRobot, along with similar products. However, appliances can also come with smart home functions. Picture a laundry machine that automatically starts a wash cycle, or fridge that orders milk online when it senses that you’re low.
Motorized shading systems: Increasingly, the idea of manually moving huge curtains and blinds is giving way to the convenience of using a simple press of a button to change the natural light coming into the house, by using motorized shades.
Smart Home market
The global smart home market size is expected to grow from USD 78.3 billion in 2020 to USD 135.3 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 11.6%. The growth of the market is driven by various factors, such as increasing number of internet users, rising consumer disposable income in developing economies, growing importance of home monitoring in remote locations, growing need for energy-saving and low carbon emission-oriented solutions, the rapid proliferation of smartphones and smart gadgets, expansion of smart home product portfolio by a large number of players, growing concern about safety, security, and convenience among the general population, according to 2020 report by MarketsandMarkets Research .
The COVID-19 pandemic has severely impacted the growth of the global smart home industry. Global sales are expected to decline by 5-10% in this fiscal year, depending upon the progression of the virus spread. The impact of COVID-19 on major markets such as the US and China has been adverse, as supply chain disruption in China has resulted in a decline in demand for smart home systems in China. The decrease in the number of new construction projects and the temporary shutdown of manufacturing facilities are some of the factors hampering the market growth in China. The market in the US is expected to witness higher growth in comparison to other countries in the Americas. However, limited adoption of smart home systems for the short term and the ongoing trade war with China are expected to affect the growth of the smart home market in the region.
The Internet of Things (IoT) has gained popularity among residential consumers owing to the benefits achieved by connecting household products to the internet. The IoT connects products, software algorithms, services, and end-users, enabling a smooth flow of data and making real-time decisions. It has proved its efficiency and has enhanced the quality and consistency of automation systems. Several large-, mid-, and small-scale companies worldwide are highly investing in the IoT industry. With most of the businesses shifting their traditional practices toward IoT, it is expected to reach numerous application areas such as lighting, HVAC, security, healthcare, and entertainment.
The growth of the smart home market is expected to be significantly driven by the increasing consumer preference for video doorbells, voice-assisted technologies (such as Alexa and Google Home), and surveillance systems. The growth in the adoption of consumer IoT is attributed to the increasing penetration of the internet, the growing usage of smartphones, and the expansion of social network platforms. The continuous increase in the number of internet users across the globe is expected to boost the growth of the overall IoT market owing to the growing adoption of internet-enabled smart devices such as radio frequency identification (RFID), barcode scanners, and mobile computers.
The shipments of smart home products depend on the utilization and requirements of homeowners. Consumers usually prefer products that offer convenience and energy efficiency. The concept of home automation is not new in the economically advanced countries in North America and Europe. Most of the residences in North American countries are already equipped with smart devices. Several residents have been using smart thermostats, smart meters, HVAC controls, and lighting controls for a long time. As the switching cost of these products is high, consumers do not replace them soon after installation. Even European countries, such as the UK and Germany, have a considerable number of smart homes. Therefore, the market for home automation products, which had a substantial penetration rate in the past three years, is expected to grow at a slower pace during the forecast period.
The lighting control market has witnessed considerable growth over the past few years. This market includes a significant number of products such as dimmers, timers, occupancy sensors, daylight sensors, and relays. These products are used either independently or in an integrated form. They can be integrated with home automation systems through wired and wireless technologies. To enable their automated operations, lighting controllers have to be integrated externally with communication protocols. However, lighting control manufacturers are now manufacturing products with inbuilt data connectivity. These controllers can be operated directly, without external communication protocols and connectivity. This is expected to create a considerable demand for such products, thereby creating opportunities for the players operating in the smart home market.
Smart home systems are widely dependent on device interconnectivity standards, communication protocols, and network technologies. The entire operation of smart home products depends on the interoperability of all the devices. The smart home ecosystem includes the hardware, software, and service segments. For the efficient and reliable functioning of every single product, the smooth and collective operation of all three segments is highly essential. The malfunctioning or disconnection of any of these three may lead to several complications for the homeowners, in terms of cost and technical complexities. It is, therefore, a major challenge for the smart home solution providers to eliminate the risks of device malfunctioning and ensure their smooth functioning. However, smart home device manufactures are signing collaboration or partnership agreements with software and connectivity technology providers to design innovative offerings specific to the market, which could help them overcome the challenge of interoperability, thereby reducing the chances of device malfunctioning.
The smart home market for software and services, by type, has been sub-segmented into behavioral and proactive solutions and services. There is a high competition in the market for software and services due to the development of technically advanced and user-friendly software solutions as well as the provision of improved and real-time services to customers, in response to the growing awareness about reducing energy consumption within households. Moreover, the environmental regulations implemented by government bodies in most countries, both developed and developing, are further increasing the installation of smart homes. The software and service industry is generating high revenue from the installation and marketing of smart homes and is also providing services to the customers. All these factors are expected to lead to the high growth of this market during the forecast period. The markets for behavioral software and services are expected to hold the largest share of the market by 2025.
The smart home market in APAC is expected to grow at the highest rate during the forecast period. Factors driving the growth of the market in this region include strong economic growth, increased population, and improved standard of living, and rapid urbanization that leads to a sophisticated infrastructure. China is likely to account for the largest size of the smart home market in APAC in 2019. However, with the growth of the smart home industry and large-scale implementation of hardware and software solutions in smart homes in China and Japan, the market in these countries is expected to grow at a higher rate during the forecast period. APAC is considered as a huge market for smart homes because of the considerable rate of implementation of various products such as lighting controls, HVAC controls, security and access controls, among others, in the region.
In 2019, the smart home market was dominated by Johnson Controls International (Ireland), United Technologies Corporation (US), Schneider Electric (France), Honeywell (US), and Siemens (Germany). A few strategies adopted by these players to compete in market include product launches and development, partnerships, and mergers and acquisition. Key Companies are Johnson Controls International (Ireland), United Technologies Corporation (US), Schneider Electric (France), Honeywell International, Inc. (US), and Siemens AG (Germany), Amazon, Inc. (US), Apple Inc. (US), Google (US), ADT (US), Robert Bosch Gmbh (Germany), ASSA ABLOY (Sweden), ABB Ltd. (Switzerland), Ingersoll-Rand PLC (Ireland), ABB (Switzerland), Legrand S.A. (France), GE (US), Comcast Corp. (US), Hubbell Inc. (US), Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd. (South Korea), LG Electronics (South Korea), Sony (Japan), Control4 Corp. (US), Lutron Electronics Co. Inc. (US), Vivint (US), and Axis Communication AB (Sweden), among others.
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