Home automation is on track for a significant 2015 and an explosive 2020, according to market analysts.
Smart appliances entered the market several years ago, and more people than ever before are buying them today. Economists have measured the trends and they predict a compound annual growth rate for the smart home market of almost 30% until 2020. Safety and energy efficiency are two important motivators.
Safety concerns to act as a major driver for consumers
All parents want to do the utmost to make sure that their children are as safe as possible, and this fact is a key reason why smart home products are expected to grow in popularity over the coming years. Not only that, but as the population ages, smart technology is expected to play an important role in care for the elderly.
Sophisticated monitoring devices represent a significant step forwards in child-safety technology. High quality cameras and microphones can be connected to the homeowner’s smartphone, so that they can check on their child or elderly relative from another room in the house, or from anywhere that they have internet access. These devices also allow the homeowner to keep an eye on the babysitter or carer to make sure that they are doing everything that they are supposed to. Monitoring devices can also double as security devices, to help the homeowner check that there are no unwelcome guests on their property.
In addition to the monitoring devices mentioned, there are several devices that can help homeowners know when their house is at risk of disaster. The latest detectors are equipped with powerful sensors and can pick up on anything out of the ordinary, such as smoke, carbon monoxide, heat, moisture, motion and more. Unlike conventional detectors that have a 90% false alarm rate, these are programmable so that the homeowner can decide what should be detected and with what frequency. All homeowners want a safer home for their family, making this kind of device very popular.
Lastly there are smart security devices such as smart locks. While these are undoubtedly convenient, when they work, security experts have major questions about their ability to deter tech-savvy intruders or hackers. Until these questions are resolved, we are likely to see this area grow a little slower than the areas mentioned above.
Rising energy costs and environmental concerns
Rising energy costs, and increased sensitivity to environmental concerns, are cited as another reason that smart homes are expected to boom. The fact is that while we might think that we are using our traditional thermostat efficiently, 60% of the British public make costly errors when it comes to heating their home. Smart thermostats are a little more expensive to install, but they almost invariably save the homeowner money on their bills by cutting out human error when it comes to efficiency. The same logic applies to smart lighting also. By simply using our existing energy more efficiently, we can make massive changes to our overall energy needs as a country.
The market is still a little way off mass-market adoption
While the outlook remains generally bright for the smart home sector, there are still some teething pains that need to be resolved.
Smart homes are a luxury product
Smart homes represent a new technology, and installing them requires specialist skills. This means that smart homes are currently expensive, and the majority of smart home installations take place within the luxury market. With so many people priced out of the smart home market, it’s unlikely that we will see a compound annual growth rate of 30% without a reduction in prices.
‘Off the shelf’ home automation products are cheaper than having a professional install, but they come with their own set of problems…
Without a professional installation, many smart devices won’t co-operate
Home automation is supposed to be convenient, and if you opt for a professional installation, convenience is what you will get. However, if you buy a number of smart home products and install them yourself, chances are you’ll be making life a lot more difficult. This is because devices from different manufacturers won’t talk to one another, meaning one app for your lighting and one app for your heating, a situation which isn’t any easier than simply walking to the thermostat.
Developers are working on several ‘bridges’ that will enable you to easily control different devices from different manufacturers, but so far it looks complicated at best and impossible at worst. At the moment, unless you happen to be an expert programmer yourself, budget consumers are limited to buying all their devices form the same manufacturer.
Disreputable home automation companies are doing a poor job
It’s unfortunate but true: unscrupulous or unprofessional home automation companies are making a mess of installations, which damages consumer trust in the entire industry. If you’ve just had an installation, and are thinking: “well it’s great when it works, but that’s only some of the time,” then it’s time to examine your home automation installation company’s credentials again. A decent job isn’t cheap though, which is why it’s very important that you ask your installer all the right questions before signing a contract.
Find out about home automation installation in London before you sign a contract. Talk to a specialist: 020 7736 1483