More Consumers Are Getting Smart Homes, What Does It Mean For Your Business?

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You’ve been replacing the standard devices in your home with smart devices over the last few years and you officially have a smart home.  So, what can you do with it? In this post we look at how IoT automation can make discrete smart devices work together to deliver more value, comfort and safety than they do on their own.

Is Smart Home Becoming the Norm?

Connected devices are on their way to reaching ubiquity in the home. According to McKinsey, the number of connected homes is growing at a rate of 31% with global penetration expected to reach 326.58 million homes by 2023. The rapid industry growth, however, fails to show a more interesting opportunity: consumers today are building their own smart home ecosystems, device by device, to meet the unique needs of their households.

In a recent survey, reporters found that 54% of consumers intended to purchase a smart device within the next year, including those that already owned at least one device. Connected products are typically bought to address an obvious purpose - smart locks grant/deny entry; lights illuminate; contact sensors secure windows/doors. The trend toward building your own personal IoT ecosystems represents an opportunity for vertical applications to drive enhanced value and purpose from the consumer devices homeowners already own or want to own. The homegrown smart home ecosystem represents a new frontier as a personally-curated platform for delivering new applications and services, but only if the devices and their respective clouds can be harnessed to work together. So far, we have seen the most viable uses of collaborative IoT ecosystems in security, insurance, energy management, and aging-in-place solutions.  

Smart Home Products Do More Than You Think

Devices have been relied on to work together to deliver market specific solutions well before IoT was a buzzword. The home security industry is one example where many different device types like, motion and contact sensors, sirens, CO and smoke detectors, work together to provide value. These systems are offered as just that - bespoke systems.  They are closed, often proprietary, and single-source products. The motion sensor in this solution had a single purpose - to detect motion when the system was armed and report the event to deter/catch home intruders.

Although meaningful for security, motion sensors are valuable in other ways, particularly when an occupant is home. In fact, all the devices that are important for home security solutions provide meaningful information for in-home monitoring, 24/7. Unfortunately, the proprietary nature of each product means market specific solutions are limited by the will of the manufacturer.

How to Help Consumers Build Their Smart Homes

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The good news is consumers now have alternative options to traditionally closed, single purpose devices. Smart locks, which can be controlled remotely, on a schedule, or based on the user’s location, can be personalized to the needs of the household and compete with fixed security solutions. The technology is reliable and offers off-the-shelf solutions for motion sensors, contact sensors, and the like. Consumers have many options to choose from as opposed to taking only what’s offered by solution providers.  Although there is no lock-in, closed-solution devices don’t work together to solve household problems, leaving consumers to fill the gap.

IoT Automation Platforms are filling a void between standalone devices and the vertical needs of consumers. Applications like Yonomi offer consumers a way to establish their own personalized routines, making devices work together, to accomplish their goals. Platforms offer the ability to build your own solution to solve a problem, but having an open platform and ecosystem does much more than that. When devices, their capabilities, and their data are disassociated from a specific vendor/provider and made directly available to the consumer - or an independent service provider on behalf of the consumer - the full potential of the smart home can be realized.  

Endless Possibilities With IoT Automation

Applied responsibly and securely, the smart home can become part of our monitoring and notification system when we are home and when we are away. Usable home care devices aren’t limited to the traditional monitoring and security devices.  Light bulbs illuminate, but they can also be used as strobes. Temporal events from light switches may determine errant patterns in behavior (such as turning the light off/on frequently in the middle of the night). No smart light in the home? Thermostats provide behavioral data based on unusual swings in set-point temperature that may be counter to expected temperatures for the time or season. Smart speakers play music but become sirens and can provide directional information in case of emergency. In the event of an emergency, a locked door may be unlocked if someone is incapacitated and unable to reach the latch.  

Today, smart home technology is reliable enough to build safe, secure, and affordable smart homes. The key is getting devices to work together. IoT automation platforms provide the tools to unleash the power and potential of our homes, beginning simply with a single device.

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