The Smart Home Can Grow By Stealth, Says Futuresource

Smart-home growth may come slowly — but steadily — as just one installed device is enough to motivate consumers to further automate their lives, new research from Futuresource indicates. 

Almost one in three consumers in the U.S., U.K., France and Germany live in a home with at least one installed smart-home device, according to the firm’s survey of more than 4,000 people. Of the four, the United States had the highest smart-home penetration, with 38 percent of respondents saying they had at least one.

Filipe Oliveira, Futuresource Consulting analyst, noted that smart lighting and thermostats were among the most popular devices and were common first steps into the smart home.

“However, it is home security that more respondents report as the first smart-home device that they have installed,” Oliveira added. “Products that fall under climate control are growing, but our survey revealed that this is a fragmented category with relatively low levels of brand recognition, a challenge to manufacturers in this field.”

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For “entertainment-driven” survey respondents, audio and video content was the first step into automation in the home. Two in three considered music and other A/V content to be important in the context of the smart home, said Futuresource.

“The results provide evidence that the smart home can grow by stealth as users who installed one device are more likely to want to automate their homes further,” noted Oliveira. “Across all segments, 30 percent of consumers expect to control more of their homes wirelessly in the near future. However, the number is substantially higher among those who already own at least one smart-home device, with 89 percent of advanced users expecting to control more of their homes wirelessly in the next six to 12 months.”

While most owners of virtual personal assistance speakers (such as the Amazon Echo or Google Home) cited music streaming as its most common use, a substantial number of respondents claimed to use them for a number of smart-home applications, the research firm said.

As for smart major appliances, Oliveira advised majap makers “to find ways to stimulate consumer interest again. Priority should be given to features where the benefits are clear, preferably those that increase safety or allow for money savings.”