Connected Home Devices

No other vendor offers the combination of timely, consistent and accurate tracking of 22 different product categories spanning audio, video and computing,

November 20, 2013 05:28 esmith

Microsoft set up shop in New York last week and held more intimate sessions with analysts and media in a smaller venue with less pomp than the Sony event several stops away. I left the briefing feeling very excited about what Xbox had to offer regarding media and was hoping to dive into a deeper gaming experience when I got home. Before getting any further, Microsoft has advised that Xbox One is still in beta testing, even at the time of writing (11:45pm EST, 11/19/13).

Duly noted. It took forever to set up Xbox One at home. It took three times just to boot to the right screen to begin the first 509MB update, which completed within ten minutes on a modest Wi-Fi network with 25Mbps downstream cable service. The system was still buggy after this update but cleared up completely after another 329MB update was pushed out on Sunday. Another 333MB update that pushed out on Tuesday brought the system to near launch readiness with app availability and sharing features that rival the PS4. I am told that multiple updates will not be pushed like this after launch and this is only a product of the system being in beta testing.

Once Xbox One was up and running, I was immediately taken with its multimedia capabilities. The new Kinect camera is incredibly powerful. How powerful you ask? It can: 1) See in night-vision, some kind of topographical vision, as well as regular old-fashioned light; 2) recognize faces of people it knows once they are in view; 3) track people moving through the room based on their skeletal profiles; 4) sense your heartbeat; 5) distinguish between real people and 2D images of people on screens; and, 6) it has its own cooling fan to help do all that.

Skype on Xbox One was an instant classic at home for the entire family. Skype on Xbox One (requires a $60/year Xbox Live Gold subscription) is a vastly superior experience to Skype on other devices. Users can sit on the couch and casually Skype with their friends displayed on the TV screen while the Kinect camera tracks movement in the room and zooms in and out to include everyone present. During testing, a friend on the receiving end noted that the presentation felt “more natural” and that it felt like there was a cameraman in our living room shooting a news interview.

Voice commands are another cool feature of the Xbox One that makes the experience feel more natural. I found myself eschewing the controller in my hand for the easier, “Xbox Go Home” or “Xbox Go to Music” voice commands, mostly because it’s largely bug-free and could detect my commands over sounds from the TV or elsewhere in the room. There are often times when the voice commands need to be repeated, and some cases when the commands are misinterpreted, but the fix is quite simple for both situations: Xbox One can be told to “Stop” or “Stop listening,” and you go back to holding dominion over one of the machines in your life. This feature did make it into a few of the games I previewed, where you command comrades or distract enemies with sound while controlling your character with the controller.

Xbox One’s control over TVs and Set-top Boxes (STB) with the OneGuide Electronic Programming Guide was fantastic in demo. Being able to switch out of games immediately into live TV or being able to snap a sidebar of fantasy football stats alongside live TV was incredible. Alas, for cheap cord-cutters like me, this is not available. In addition to needing an Xbox Live Gold subscription, users must have a Pay TV subscription to use OneGuide. This isn’t Microsoft’s fault, but this does showcase the perilous environment in which Xbox One finds itself as it tries to take over the living room.

Unfortunately, the games available at launch were not wildly impressive. They required incredibly long install times, long load times, and nothing particularly stood out about the graphics. At the time of writing, the gaming felt very lonely as opposed to the PS4 “What’s New” timelines or the social sharing that comes so easily on PS4. More features are being rolled out as the November 22 launch date approaches, so this is by no means a final verdict. At the time of writing, SmartGlass had just been released into the wild and it definitely has potential to boost the depth Xbox One’s gaming capabilities.

I get the distinct feeling that Microsoft may have tried to make Xbox One something for everybody. The more features that are unlocked during beta testing, the more optimistic I am about Microsoft achieving that goal. There’s an argument in our latest Game Console forecast, to which I still ascribe, that Xbox unit sales will begin to match those of PS4 in the later years of the console war as more people see Xbox One in action delivering content to the living room in addition to a comparable gaming experience to PS4.

The question Microsoft needs to answer is, will there be too many paywalls erected – Xbox Live Gold has its perks with gaming, but it’s a little frustrating to hide the coolest multimedia features behind it while OneGuide is also restricted to Pay TV customers – that diminish the value proposition of Xbox One’s media streaming capabilities? Also, will Microsoft be able to keep up with the gaming innovations coming out of Tokyo, and to some extent, Kyoto?

This blog series will be followed by an insight piece available to clients after both systems are launched and we have a chance to assess the early days “not in beta” in a larger context with our market data.

- Eric Smith


November 14, 2013 14:42 esmith

Sony held a two-day pre-launch event on November 11 and 12 in advance of its November 15 release of PlayStation4, taking over the Standard High Line hotel in midtown New York City. And by “taking over,” I mean cloaking every corner of the hotel in the iconic triangle, circle, X, and square of the PlayStation controller, filling half of the tower’s floors with game developers to provide walk-throughs and insights on launch titles, and a separate floor dedicated to hardware and UI introduction by staff and executives. The event drew upon the confidence that Sony has built through its nine-month campaign to introduce its next gen console to the world.

Upon visiting the developers of Killzone: Shadow Fall for a demo, it was quickly clear that the PS4 was built primarily for gamers. The graphics were so rich and engaging while the gaming experience was highly customizable and adaptive. The developers noted that the technological jump from PS3 to PS4 was so great that they were only limited by their imagination in terms of how many options they could give players, how many characters could be onscreen at once, and how much the environment could be manipulated by the player. In contrast, the jump from PS2 to PS3 was much less noticeable and they quickly ran into technical boundaries when developing their first games.

Next generation isn’t a label only limited to the graphics though. Sony is staking its claim on social gaming by allowing players to post videos of their gaming exploits on Facebook, screenshots on Facebook and Twitter, and to broadcast live gameplay (with 15 to 20 seconds of latency) through Twitch and UStream. Users are instantaneously notified of their friends’ activities in a section called “What’s New” on the home screen, creating a feedback loop wherein users further explore games or buy new ones with just a few button presses.

Despite boasting very smooth menu transitions and game loading, the console did freeze up for a tense minute in the middle of the guided hardware and UI introduction. Other than that minor hiccup and some latency in the Music Unlimited App (PS4’s music streaming service), the consoles on display performed well and seamlessly transitioned from task to task. After bringing a unit home for testing, I found a few other issues that didn’t work as well in the real world as they did during the event. First, the PlayStation Camera was a bit temperamental, having trouble picking up and tracking movement during games. Second, the PlayStation App intended to turn iOS and Android devices into second screens in some games did not function as it did during demos.

A 323MB firmware update is needed out of the box, but this was not a big hassle even considering my modest home network. Using a home Wi-Fi network (with an older router, mind you) on a 25Mbps downstream cable connection, the update stalled out once, and then downloaded again and updated without incident in about ten minutes.

The entertainment apps available at launch in the U.S. are adequate, including Amazon, Redbox Instant, Netflix, Crackle, Hulu Plus, NHL and NBA channels, and users may rent or purchase content from the PlayStation Store. There are just few too multimedia apps available at launch to stay captivating, but in the end, I expect more apps to get certified for PS4. The system should become a good substitute for smart TV for those with dumb or even (gasp) non-connected TVs – the UI is clean, easily navigable, and brings a full-screen immersive app experience to the TV.

One change that may shock current PS3 and PS Vita users is that online multi-player is only available to PS4 users who subscribe to PlayStation Plus, at a cost of $49.99 yearly. Certainly, there are other advantages that come with the Plus subscription, not the least of which is 1GB of cloud storage for game downloads, but turning online multi-player into a luxury may be an issue for some gamers. From a business perspective, though, Xbox has been doing this for years and PlayStation may have finally decided that they were leaving too much money on the table.

All in all, I was impressed with the system and stand by the forecast we published just a few weeks ago showing PS4 edging out Xbox One in global unit shipments in the first years of availability. PS4 delivers a quality gaming experience that will impress its current fan base while winning some conquest sales from former Xbox 360 fans. In the coming days, I will review the Xbox One and the competitive environment in which next gen consoles find themselves in more detail.

- Eric Smith


September 19, 2013 10:43 dmercer

I recently posted the following comments on an analyst forum:

 

The connected home vision is failing because of classic standards v. competition barriers. What may be in consumers' interests (single platform, open standards) is not being delivered by vendors and service providers who want to grab as much territory for themselves as they can.

The other dynamic is retail v. service provider: the fact is many consumers will be happy to pay for someone to manage this stuff - SPs just have to work out what they want and which model works, not that that's easy... But in the meantime consumers are putting together their own systems off the shelf, hence the confusion and complexity.

The home networking challenge in my view is something of a myth. Techies always talk about the best solution, while consumers just get on with what works. Right now that's WiFi/cellular, with a little bit of coax/Ethernet thrown in. There's no reason why the "home network" should ever need to migrate to a single connectivity standard.

I've followed this for 25 years and I can't say the vision of seamless interoperability will be realised in another 25. But progress is being made, building on the growth of semi-smart devices like phones and PCs. It's a story of continued fragmentation rather than unification, but that doesn't mean consumers won't get access to a growing range of new smart home capabilities in the near to medium term - that's clearly already starting to happen.

David Mercer


September 10, 2013 02:15 dmercer

The world of standards is rarely to be entered by the faint-hearted but the arrival of the HDMI 2.0 specification at last week’s IFA raised an unusually high number of questions and issues which will likely dominate the next few months of Ultra HD TV marketing. It’s difficult to know where to start: I’ll simply state that the HDMI Forum which oversees implementation of the standard does not want any of its members to tell consumers which standard they are buying. Its view is that it is up to manufacturers to tell customers about the specific features of devices without worrying them about specification numbers.

This all sounds very well in theory. In practice, however, two of the HDMI Forum’s most important members actively promoted HDMI 2.0 under its very noses during the IFA event. Sony was the most flagrant transgressor, hitting the headlines by claiming that its current and soon-to-be-launched UHD TVs would be upgradeable to HDMI 2.0 via a firmware upgrade. Panasonic also displayed support for HDMI 2.0 on its stand.

There isn’t enough space here to go into the all the reasons why this matters: I’ve saved that for our clients, who can read a detailed report shortly. Suffice it say that anyone thinking of buying a UHD TV in the next few months is going to get confused very quickly if they try to compare different brands, models and features. And whatever a company says about HDMI features and specifications, you need to read the fine print, and good luck finding it.

David Mercer


September 5, 2013 21:58 dmercer

There aren’t many analysts and journalists still standing who recall the days when there were two CES’s a year. Even just thinking that thought is enough to bring on a cold sweat at the thought of duplicating the round of interview planning, travelling and meetings which now take place from November to January. The last summer CES took place in Chicago in 1994, but it seems like the bi-annual model may be re-emerging by stealth.

Germany’s IFA show has been morphing slowly but surely towards a more CES-like model over the years, and the press days this year are as close to the CES experience as ever. In contrast to years ago, when press conferences were dour, German-language only affairs away from the show floor, they are now larger and louder showpieces taking place often at the exhibitor booths, some of which, praise be, are available for viewing in relative peace and quiet before the great German public gets to cram the exhibition floors to overflowing the following day.

That will presumably remain the big difference between IFA and CES: the former is very much a consumer event whose technology exhibits and on-site TV shows attract hundreds of thousands of (mainly) German residents every year. The latter, of course, remains a strictly trade-only event.

But IFA is apparently recognising slowly but surely that it needs to cater more effectively to trade and press visitors, and the latter are certainly better looked after than in olden days. There is still the fun of a negotiating the absence of signage across much of the sprawling labyrinth of meeting rooms and exhibition halls, and communication about available entry points to the exhibition site is still sadly absent. But the facilities have improved enormously, with sponsored coffee now appearing in the press room to compete with the paid-for bar, and press events are providing lunch boxes and snacks. Add a packed Showstoppers to conclude the first full press day, complete with exactly the same food menu as appears in Las Vegas, and we could almost imagine we were in Sin City itself. Parts of Berlin, I am told, would possibly qualify for that title.

Formally of course the event organisers remain rivals and regularly trade comparisons of attendee numbers as indications of their relative importance. The inevitable reality is that IFA is heavily Germany- and Europe-centric while CES is American, however many visitors from other parts of the world each attracts. Behind the rivalry they complement each other well, and exhibitors are clearly recognising this by elevating IFA to a more significant role in product introductions over recent years.

As examples today we heard important announcements at Samsung’s event about partnerships in UHD/4K TV broadcasting with Eutelsat and TF1, Philips’ first UHD TVs, a range of upgraded convertible PC form factors from Lenovo, a demonstration of Intel’s new facial recognition technology, a demo of Technicolor’s certified 4K upscaling technology, and an intelligent location-aware audio headset from “Intelligent Headset” of Denmark. More details to follow on some of these key industry trends.

David Mercer


January 25, 2013 10:25 dmercer

Almost 10 years ago to the month since Cisco announced it would acquire Linksys, the company has told investors it has agreed to sell the unit to Belkin, the privately held home networking specialist based in Los Angeles, CA. Financial terms have not been disclosed. The transaction is expected to close in March 2013.

What is often misunderstood about Cisco’s recent strategic moves, including the closure of its Flip video camera business, is that it still has a strong interest in consumer markets: what has changed, and is now complete through the Linksys divestment, is that Cisco no longer plays directly in the consumer retail space – instead it supports its service provider customers in delivering solutions to end consumers. In that role Cisco still maintains a strong interest in understanding and driving emerging connected consumer technology trends.

The most interesting aspect of the Belkin deal is that Cisco will enter a strategic relationship with Belkin “focused on a variety of initiatives including retail distribution, strategic marketing and products for the service provider market”. My interpretation of this is that Belkin and Cisco will work together to support Cisco’s service provider customers in home networking product development and distribution. Apart from any transaction fees (and its rising share price) this would appear to be the one benefit to Cisco from the Belkin deal.

Cisco’s ten-year odyssey through the world of low margin consumer electronics has been exciting and expensive. In the early days we questioned whether Cisco would become a major consumer technology brand alongside Samsung and Apple. And when the company introduced wireless home audio systems and media hubs in 2009 it looked like things might begin to accelerate. As I wrote at the time, Cisco’s consumer strategy at that time represented a “compelling, yet high risk vision”.

The wireless audio strategy proved to be disastrous, and once the economic downturn hit Cisco’s corporate results the financial markets zoomed in on the weak spots. Linksys’s low margins (relative to Cisco’s traditional enterprise businesses) meant trouble and the writing was on the wall. It was only a matter of time before retail consumer electronics would become an interesting footnote in Cisco’s history.

David Mercer


January 9, 2013 14:13 dmercer

As hoped for in my comments last week, television has created much of the excitement so far at CES 2013. Things started off well when the first major press conference from LG spent very little time on smartphones, instead leading with OLED and Ultra-HD, and indeed also smart home in the form of smart appliances. LG announced three Ultra-HD screen sizes for 2013 launch: 55”, 65” and 84”, and confirmed that the 55” model would retail for less than $10,000.

Sharp joined the UHD party by announcing 60”, 70” and 85” models, and demonstrations at the company’s booth are very impressive. Perhaps most dramatic in terms of market impact could be Hisense, which has taken over the prominent location previously occupied by Microsoft. Hisense is demonstrating UHD in 50”, 58”, 65” and 84” screen sizes. The company told me that the 84” is effectively a custom-built model, but the sub 65” models are all scheduled for mass production in March and availability in the US in May. Most significantly prices are expected to be approximately only twice the 1080p equivalent. We will try to get further confirmation on the implications of this assertion, which could clearly have a dramatic impact on early UHD demand becauses prices would be far below any previous estimates.

Another indication of UHD pricing came from Toshiba, who told me that their 65” and 58” models would be priced at less than $100 per inch, although again the 84” was seen as very much a different story. Toshiba’s UHD native 4k video demonstrations were very impressive. I have to say I was less impressed by the Hisense demos, although these were also claimed to be native 4k.

The biggest supporter of 4k is Sony, whose impressive stand has this as a strong theme across video creativity and TVs. Most stunning of all is Sony’s prototype 4k OLED, demonstrating that OLED technology will eventually embrace UHD, although at what cost? Nevertheless the 56” display confirmed what we always suspected: 4k really does have an impact at “smaller” screen sizes, in spite of claims from many who may have never seen it.

I did also take a demonstration of Samsung’s innovative dual view 3D OLED TV with quad-core processor, which allows two viewers to watch different programmes on the same TV. Not being a great 3D fan, this was nevertheless a very effective demonstration. The challenge is that the glasses are effectively selecting between different TV inputs, so the viewer would need to be using either multiple set-top boxes or boxes with multiple video outputs.

David Mercer


January 3, 2013 18:38 dmercer

Smartphones, tablets and ultrabooks will grab many of the headlines over the next few days of CES mayhem, and in some cases may even deserve their accolades. The world of consumer technology has been transformed by smart personal devices and there is plenty more innovation coming down those pipelines in the years ahead.

In the meantime, the world of TV, which used to define CES, has taken a back seat. In spite of various developments in recent years, including high definition, connected and smart TV and 3D, some of which have had strategic significance for ecosystem players, television as a whole has tended to decline in relative importance. Apart from the notable exception of Samsung, the business performance of major TV vendors has certainly suffered in recent years and has added to the general perception that television is a legacy industry in decline.

Smart TV was supposed to change all that, and, as we have reported, there are now more than a hundred million smart TVs in use worldwide. But there is little evidence yet of these newest smart devices transforming the business outlook for their manufacturers. As I noted a few months ago smart TV usage rates are higher in the US, where high value services like Netflix are prominent, than in Europe, where equivalents are harder to find. Smart TV’s success will hinge on driving new services, content and usage: selling the devices is only the first step.

The next opportunity for TV’s fightback will be highly visible at next week’s International CES: Ultra High Definition TV presents a major opportunity to raise the value bar for TV manufacturers and ultimately for content and service providers as well. Naturally enough people will look at these crazily-prized jumbo TVs and wonder who on earth will buy them, and for a couple of years their scepticism will appear to be justified. UHD is the start of a another stage in television’s evolution and there are many barriers ahead, not least bandwidth restrictions and new codec requirements. But display prices will fall rapidly and we fully expect UHD TV ultimately to do to HDTV what HDTV has done to standard definition over the past twenty years.

Our UHD forecast has been released and we are projecting ten million homes worldwide owning a UHD TV by 2016. We’re looking forward to seeing the first wave of these products and some great 4k content next week in Vegas.

David Mercer


April 25, 2012 11:18 dmercer

Strategy Analytics has been designing and analysing large scale consumer surveys for many years. Some of this work has been used by our industry analysts to support their regular market and competition tracking. We have also conducted frequent consumer surveys to support proprietary project and consulting activities.

Recognising that every client has its own particular set of interests, questions and perspectives, we have now opened up some of the results of these surveys to our client base via a powerful new web-based interface and analysis tool. The ConsumerMetrix service collates the results of three years’ worth of survey results, comprising more than 15000 online consumer interviews and offering millions of unique datapoints. Survey results are easily selected and instantly available according to the needs of the individual user, and can be downloaded in Excel and Powerpoint format for incorporation into customers’ own reports.

ConsumerMetrix surveys cover the US, France, Germany, Italy and the UK. Additional international market coverage, including Canada, Spain, China, India, Japan, South Korea, Russia, the Nordic region, Poland, Hungary, Brazil, Mexico and Indonesia, is available at the request of subscribers.

Subscribers can use ConsumerMetrix to assess survey data about the world’s leading technology and service provider brands and who their current and potential customers are.

ConsumerMetrix: Major Technology Brands

Acer, Apple, Asus, Compaq, Dell, Emachines, Facebook, Gateway, Grundig, HP, HTC, JVC, LG, LinkedIn, Motorola, MySpace, Nokia, Packard Bell, Panasonic, Philips, RIM/Blackberry, Samsung, Sanyo, Sharp, Sony, SonyEricsson, Toshiba, Twitter, Vizio, Youtube

 

ConsumerMetrix: Major Service Provider Brands

3, AT&T/Bell South/Cingular, Bouyges Telecom, BT, Comcast, DirecTV, Dish, E-Plus, Free, Kabel Deutschland, Mediaset PremiumNeuf Cegetel, O2, Orange, SFR, Sky, Sprint/Nextel, TalkTalk, Telecom Italia, T-Home, TIM, Time Warner Cable, T-Mobile, United Internet, Verizon/Alltel, Virgin Media, Virgin Mobile, Vodafone/Arcor, WIND

 

ConsumerMetrix is designed to answer key tactical, consumer-facing questions like:

·         How many people plan to buy an Xbox 360 or PS3 during the next 12 months?

·         How do nations vary in usage of digital video recorders?

·         How do the profiles of Samsung and Sony customers compare?

·         Which television service providers have the highest satisfaction ratings?

·         Which brands are people most likely to choose when they next purchase a TV, PC or mobile phone?

·         How do the demographics of Apple v. PC owners compare?

·         How many people are using the major OTT video services and which devices are they watching them on?

·         How much do consumers expect to pay for iPads or other tablets?

·         How useful do consumers find TV mobile phone apps?

·         Which consumers are using multiscreen TV?

·         How many Sky Digital customers plan to drop the service during the coming 12 months?

 

ConsumerMetrix covers a wide range of themes and technologies related to the digital consumer, television, video and media sectors. The outline is presented below:

 

ConsumerMetrix Survey Themes

ConsumerMetrix Product Segmentation

          Attitudes to payment and finance

          Household device ownership

          Personal device usage

          Device purchase intentions

          Device price expectations

          Brand ownership

          Brand purchase intentions and preferences

          Service provider customers

          TV, Fixed Broadband, Mobile Broadband, Mobile phone, Home phone

          Broadband and television access technologies

          Television service fees and satisfaction

          Managed home services

          3D television and video

          Advanced television services and features: availability, usage, perceived value and interest

          Television service: propensity to churn

          Future television concepts

          Online television and video services and applications

          Connected video device usage

          Social networking users and brands

          Consumer Devices: Connected TV, HDTV, 3DTV, LCD/plasma TV, Blu-ray, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, PS Vita, Home cinema, Home computer (desktop, portable, PC, Mac), Handheld games (PSP, Nintendo), Digital TV set-top box, Apple TV, Connected TV boxes, mobile phone, iPhone, smartphone, iPad, tablet, broadband WiFi router, Internet radio, camcorder, e-reader, home monitoring camera, iPod, personal audio player

          Broadband/TV Access Technologies: Cable, xDSL, Fiber, WiMax, Mobile data card/dongle, satellite, terrestrial broadcast, IPTV

          Advanced TV Features (selected examples): VOD, Pause/rewind live TV, Series recording, Mobile phone app, caller ID, whole home DVR, internet access

          Online TV device usage: TV/PC, TV/console, TV/media server, TV/Blu-ray, TV/digital media player, Connected TV, PC, Tablet, Smartphone

 

We are excited by the strong interest already shown in this service, which we believe is unique in many respects. Please email digitalconsumer@strategyanalytics.com for further details and a personal demonstration.

David Mercer


November 10, 2011 15:19 dmercer

I think I must amaze some of my younger colleagues when I show them one of our ancient hard copy multi-client studies, a few dusty samples of which I keep stacked away in a cupboard in my office. The fact that a research report can exist on paper alone takes some getting used to in this online era.

 I have little cause to refer to them nowadays, of course, but that changed recently when Strategy Analytics decided to renew its focus on smart home. Back in 1986, shortly before I joined the company, it published a study called “The Interactive Home”, so I was curious to see how some of those predictions stacked up with the benefits of 25 years of hindsight.

 

Sure enough, we talked about the concept of “smart home” in that report, largely in the context of home automation, management and security. We noted in particular that in Germany “there seems little or no coherent drive twoards realisation of ‘Smart Home’ concepts at present”. A key obstacle was the high levels of rented and apartment accommodation, which reduced the need for automation and security systems.

 

The conclusions in the UK also make interesting reading: we identified a “growing body of serious PC owners” who would “help open up the information-related interactive sectors”, as well as opportunities in interactive television and electronic publishing. The study also concluded that “energy telemetry” was “likely to emerge as a prime investment area in the early 1990s”.

 

The study had a 10-year forecast horizon, which is fairly ambitious compared to regular analyst reports. We may laugh now at a forecast of what would happen in the late 1990s, but that seemed as far off in 1986 as the 2020s seem today. And in fact, as so often happens with emerging technologies, while the long-term scenarios were broadly correct, the future timing of events was misunderstood. And in general the report was over-optimistic in terms of predicting the speed with which new “smart home” services would emerge as mass market opportunities.

 

Given those past uncertainties and false dawns, the question posed by my colleague, Bill Ablondi, is right on the mark: “Smart Homes: Why Now? He identifies a number of reasons to think that we may not have to wait another 25 years before true interactive home technologies become widespread, including:

 

·         Consumers becoming increasingly connected via mobile devices  

·         Broadband service providers need to develop additional revenue generating units (RGUs) to offset declining growth in traditional businesses  

·         Expansion of offerings from traditional home security systems providers into self-monitoring and control products and services

·         Introduction of affordable, retrofit solutions that can enhance lifestyles, safeguard homes and reduce home operating expenses

·         Manufacturers of appliances and home systems desire to differentiate their offerings and expand their opportunities

·         Government incentives and mandates to reduce energy consumption by connecting residential customers to advanced electricity distribution and management systems

 

In other words, some high value industry sectors are getting serious and see that many pieces of the smart home jigsaw are lying around waiting to be put into place. Key barriers remain, of course, not least persuading consumers that there is value in these systems and services. That’s a key set of questions which our new advisory service, Smart Home Strategies, will be exploring over the coming weeks and months.

 

David Mercer

 

Client Reading: Smart Homes: Why Now?