Home Automation Trends
Josh recently returned from the 2016 Consumer Electronic Show (CES) and once again home automation was at the forefront of the show. From startups to established companies, everyone was pushing connected products. But what does this mean for the average homeowner? What are the trends in the industry? Here’s Josh:
The Smart Hub is Dead, here come the Smart Products
From 2012-2014 the market was flooded with “smart hubs”. These hubs wanted to talk to your smart switches, thermostats, and devices. At the 2016 CES show I didn’t see a single new hub. In fact, most of the companies that had been showing their smart hubs the past few years have now shut their doors.
2016 sees a trend of moving back to creating smart products with a single purpose. From switches to sensors, everything is IoT (internet of things) enabled.
How do they communicate?
Communication between products and systems has plagued the home automation industry for decades. Currently there are 5 major protocols, with most products only supporting one, and must system hubs supporting a couple.
- Hardwired (simple contact closure, loop reading, etc)
- Bluetooth LTE
Within these categories are even more protocols. Some Zigbee systems are proprietary and won’t speak with other Zigbee products.
Nest has also come out with their own protocol called Thread, and Apple has its HomeKit.
All of these protocols make shopping for products difficult for consumers and will slow home automation adoption.
I expect new and innovative products to arrive throughout 2016. The past few years have taught us that resource intensive (programming, development, & support) hubs are not profitable at the mass market approved price point of $99. We have also seen that a well-designed smart device, Nest, can be purchased by a tech giant for over $3 billon.
It seems that most of the innovation now is trying to follow in Nest’s footsteps. Make a single product, but make it great.
Are you in the market for incorporating a Home Automation System into your new home build? If so, click here to get a free, no obligation quote and see what you can have for your budget!