Research shows that 25 percent of U.S. homeowners live in a smart home; in five years, that number is expected to more than double. Smart home technology serves a whole range of needs, from a low-cost way to secure and protect a home to the automation of simple tasks, such as turning on and off lights. As more companies jump into the smart home game, customers are faced with more options and need to stay informed on what’s next. Some industry players are making a big impact, and 2017 will be filled with a whole new set of offerings and updates for smart home shoppers.
Here are five things to look for this year in smart home technology:
Home security – more than any other benefit – likely will drive the majority of new customers to smart home technology.One of the top reasons people seek out and purchase smart home technology is for the security and protection they provide. Our annual smart home survey confirms that 62 percent of adults believe security is the most beneficial reason to own smart home devices. Audible alarms, door, window and motion sensors, and lighting can ward off intruders and help prevent burglaries, while cameras and motion detectors can give you a glimpse inside and outside your home when you’re away. DIY smart home security is easier to install than traditional security systems because it doesn’t require hard wiring. It’s also easy to add new devices to the system. In the coming year, we expect to see a rise in smart home shoppers in search of security solutions, especially professionally monitored ones, as they reach new levels of affordability for the average homeowner. While thermostats and other point devices continue to perform well, we expect that smart home security will drive the market in terms of significant adoptions.
The smart speaker market is only going to get louder and more competitive.Smart speakers, also called voice-controlled assistants because you can command them to activate other smart devices in your home, proved to be popular choices this holiday season. While the Amazon Echo was the first one out of the gate, the recent introduction of Google Home gave customers another highly competitive choice while other industry players work on ways to enter the space. We expect the battle to heat up this year as these companies expand their offerings. By the end of 2017, we expect to see strong adoption of smart speakers across a broader percentage of households and look for Google Home to seriously challenge Echo’s first mover advantage.
Wi-Fi devices will drive smart home exploration.While we saw greater adoption of smart home devices in 2016, taking the plunge into a smart home can still be daunting for some. That’s why Iris (and others) are offering easy ways to get started with smart home solutions that use your home’s Wi-Fi to get set up, as opposed to requiring a hub. Wi-Fi devices like the Iris Wi-Fi Smart Switch make it simpler for customers to do things like control and schedule lights. This helps customers get started on their smart home journey. However, hubs are still necessary when you want to expand your smart home to take advantage of a broader set of capabilities and make everything work together seamlessly and more securely, so they won’t be going away any time soon.
The best smart home experiences will blend the digital and physical worlds together and create all new, engaging experiencesSmart home technology enables the interaction between connected devices around your home and your smartphone, but it has the potential to be so much more. We’re seeing a growing number of devices that trigger a variety of alerts when an incident occurs. For example, a smart monitor that not only sounds an alarm but also displays different colored lights to more effectively get your attention. Your smart home won’t just be about a great app design, it will be about bringing the digital and physical together in ways that make use of more of your senses and the smart devices across your home to make the experience more engaging and informative.
More partnerships between smart home and service-oriented companiesOur research shows that those interested in smart home devices purchase products in conjunction with big life events, such as moving into a new home or adding a new family member. We partnered with a central monitoring station to offer Iris users professional monitoring this year. Similarly, we’re likely to see other services companies, such as realtors, moving professionals, or even health care service providers, work with smart home companies to provide more seamless and integrated experiences based upon those life events.
2017 is poised to be a big year for the smart home, and we’re excited about continuing to help smart home shoppers create the home of their dreams.