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Ce Retailers To Reap Benefits Of New Smart Home Technology

Consumer electronics retailers are set to reap the benefit of a move away from proprietary smart home technology that needed an integrator to off the shelf technology that can be controlled via a smartphone or voice command.

Described at CES as one of the fastest growing categories retailers are set to sell networked controllers for lighting and heating as well as a new generation of voice activated devices for controlling entertainment in the home.

There are currently four main smart home categories, namely hubs and control devices, security and monitoring, climate control and lighting systems that will initially generate sales.

According to a new smart home report from Futuresource Consulting, a new generation of smart devices will achieve retail sales of $6 billion worldwide this year, with revenues expected to triple by 2021.

“The smart home has arrived, and its impact is indisputable,” said Filipe Oliveira, a market analyst at Futuresource. “Smart home devices help with daily tasks, improve security and generate savings in energy bills through heating and lighting control. With high profile brands like Samsung, Apple and Philips getting in on the action, consumers are becoming attuned to the benefits, excited by the possibilities and are beginning to flex their purchasing muscle.”

Alexa and the Google Assistant, embedded in a range of devices, are making inroads into smart home control, with Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana currently lagging in the smart home. However, the success of smart speakers and the intuitive nature of voice is not toppling the ever-present nature of smartphones, which are still the go-to interface for controlling smart home devices.
“Consumers carry their smartphones everywhere they go, even when moving from room to room around the home,” said Oliveira. “Smartphones currently have the edge on smart speakers, because these devices allow face recognition and gesture commands to play a role alongside voice commands. Voice may not be needed at all in many smart home situations; when the user is away from a microphone, when there is background noise or when multiple people are talking in the same room, for example.

“Security and monitoring products are leading the smart home charge. With the highest penetration rates and the largest value and volume at retail, this category is one of the main drivers of growth,” said Oliveira.

“In terms of market development, we’re seeing a surge in lighting, which is picking up speed faster than all other categories in retail and through the custom installer channel. Although we expect a general decline in unit prices, the lighting category will reinvent itself, with the emergence of products that combine lighting with other functions such as speakers and cameras, adding both value and appeal to the category.”

An increasing consumer appetite for all things smart home is giving rise to a range of other smart home devices beyond the four main categories. This includes an assortment of devices from smart mirrors to smart fragrance diffusers, but also basic smart home items such as connected sockets.

Australia already has a high adoption rate and when Amazon launch their new Alexa voice offering next month it’s expected that the adoption of linked devices will rise.

At present, North America represents over 60 percent of global smart home shipments and will continue to take the lion’s share out to 2021 and beyond. In Europe, the UK is playing a starring role in the smart home revolution. While in Australia most retailers are out of stock of Googles Large Home activation speaker.

In channel terms, retailers and service providers are the main contributors to the smart home device market. Custom installers currently account for less than 20 percent of installations and most of the growth is coming from easy-to-install DIY devices.

“Over the coming months and years, the CE winners will be those who place the smart home at the heart of their business planning,” says Oliveira. “In addition to providing smart home devices, vendors can benefit from selling a wide range of related services and complementary products, as well as using the connected home to cement ties with their customers.”

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