Last week, I discussed how the concept of the smart home
– and indeed the market itself – had evolved. We at Juniper Research believe that no stakeholders or individual members of the smart home ecosystem can succeed in isolation; operators, content providers and vendors need to collaborate for a mutually beneficial business model to flourish. Just as we mentioned Intel’s interest within the market, Honeywell launched and added two new security and home automation products to their portfolio: the LYNX Touch 5100 and Tuxedo Touch Wi-Fi home controller. We are witnessing a scaling-up of the level of activity in the marketplace, be that activity: product launches, partnerships or regulatory initiative. So who has the advantage? Who owns this market? Is there a clear leader here?
We recognise that even though there are no single leaders within this space, service providers are coming forward and taking a much more proactive role. Cable operators and broadband service providers have a major role to play as they have an existing billing relationship with the consumers. As a consumer, I would prefer my broadband provider to take care of my smart home rather than distribute the services amongst a number of players: utilities, security providers and even retailers – and then, worry about paying them individually. So, by bundling other features into existing services, service providers can be in a much better position within the pyramid, compared to other new entrants. But then, that’s just me – some may prefer to distribute his/her smart home services amongst specialist or individual players. Yes, the market
is fragmented: but, various industries and organisations are seeing the mutual economic benefits and there is a growing trend of strategic relationship between vendors and service providers developing. The opportunities are there to be seen for everyone – including for potentially key players like Apple, Google and Microsoft. These giants have been involved in various facets of the smart home for many years, and as the technology has moved forward, the pieces of their respective jigsaws have fallen into place: the huge consumer success enjoyed by these players provides them with a platform to expand upon within the smart home, each with their own particular advantages and opportunities to exploit. Ultimately, the connected home experience will come down to end-user preferences – YES, what we, the smart home owners (and renters – don’t forget renters!) want. Do we actually want our ‘home sweet home’ to be controlled by Apple or Google? I will let you guys think about it….