Smart Home or Dumb Home? You decide.
Last week, I was asked by a journalist friend about what I think a smart home is and what exactly is the advantage of having one. Well, the ‘connected home’ or ‘smart home’ quite simply takes the latest in innovative electronic technologies, software and computerisation and blends those tools together to control or automate a number of different functionalities within the home. A smart home should be designed to deliver or distribute a number of services both within and outside the home. A simple home with some kind of broadband connectivity cannot be termed as ‘smart’ – there needs to be some sort of communication between the devices within a home to make it smart. But do consumers really want their home to be ‘smart’? You may beg to differ, but we strongly believe the ecosystem is evolving in such a way that consumers now have the ability to choose and customise their home to fit their unique needs. So essentially it depends on those needs – I want to share my files and songs across all the devices in my home but I do not necessarily want to control my washing machine or fridge for that matter, using my smartphone. One person may wish to control room temperature and another, security. It really depends on the consumer, but by giving customers the ultimate freedom of choice and with that type of control, consumer managed service adoption can become more mainstream. However, consumers nowadays do not prefer their homes to be dumb and the number opting for smart will only increase in years to come – but, before the user base can reach critical mass, consumers must be sufficiently educated on managing the technology that goes into complete home automation. The ability to remotely manage a lighting system, view streaming video from security cameras, adjust the thermostat, cue a playlist or preheat the oven while driving home from work does not just happen through an app on the smart phone; there is a whole network of software and technology that gets communicated to the home devices, enabling automation to be possible. That is not to say that the consumer will suddenly need to know, say, the ins and outs of the supporting network: rather, that he or she needs to understand that certain (hopefully) simple procedures have to be observed for everything to work smoothly, or else he or she risks turning the bedroom temperature up to forty degrees Centigrade or having “Agadoo” on constant repeat. Neither is desirable.. Our latest research suggests that even though home entertainment will account for the majority of the smart home revenue, Smart Monitoring & Control will contribute significant (and increasing) revenues to this market over the next five years