Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Smart Home Summit 2015

Cozify attended the Smart Home Summit in London in late September. We introduced people to Cozify Hub at our own stand and also participated in a few interesting panel discussions. Read on to learn more about the event and our observations.


The organiser had booked a relatively small space, to be on the safe side, but widespread interest in the event meant that the event was sold out even after extra space was added. The event drew some 400 participants who represented an interesting range of industries. Perhaps the largest group consisted of mobile phone and broadband operators, but the event also attracted insurance companies, energy companies and consumer electronics retailers. In addition to Cozify, the exhibitors mostly comprised manufacturers of various smart devices, such as smart thermostats, sensors and lighting systems. 

Research

Several research companies were invited to the seminar to discuss their recent findings. Martin Garner from CCS Insights encouraged businesses in the smart home space to take decisive measures to share their knowledge and expertise. He also pointed out that many older routers used in today’s homes are unable to serve the dozens of devices that a modern home can contain. This means that the routers will have to be replaced in the near future. This gives operators the opportunity to integrate smart home functionality into their own routers. Cozify was also asked about this possibility by a European operator. 

Bill Ablondi from Strategy Analytics was on hand to talk about his research on different user groups and their interest in smart homes. He highlighted two groups in particular: Green Nesters, meaning people with families who value the environment, and Impressers, meaning those who want to impress other people with their homes. According to research conducted by Strategy Analytics, these two groups are more likely to invest in building a smart home, although their motives for doing so are obviously quite different. 

Becoming a mass market

The event participants also included representatives of traditional home automation. Some were clearly annoyed by us new entrants thinking that this is a market that is only just being created. They made several comments to remind us that home automation has already been done for 20–30 years. I don’t think anyone denies this, but the traditional home automation companies way of working has unfortunately restricted the comfort and security of home automation to a very small segment of the population. We, along with other new entrants, have a mission of bringing this comfort and security to everyone, even those who rent rather than own their homes. 

However, I do agree with the representatives of traditional home automation that this will become a mass market through entertainment and convenience rather than security and energy-efficiency. Of course, it makes sense to incorporate all of these areas into a single user interface to make the system easy to use. 

Big numbers 

We should also note that between traditional automation and today’s era of the Internet of Things, there is a first class of rebels. Manufacturers such as the Germany-based e-Q3 have been developing and selling inexpensive devices using the 868 MHz frequency for several years. According to them, a device that fails to exceed half a million units in sales is a failure. 

AT&T from the United States has invested a lot in their own security-oriented product, with rumours suggesting that they are now selling tens of thousands of units per month. In Hong Kong, which is considered similar in size to the Finnish market, Huawei says they received 50,000 home automation orders through a local operator in just six months.

These numbers mean that home automation among ordinary consumers have already got off to a strong start in certain markets. Europe is trailing these markets slightly, but this is also the region that is developing the freshest concepts at this time.

Read more about Cozify Hub at www.cozify.fi.

Antti / Cozify

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This is Cozify’s blog, where we ruminate on home automation technologies and practices and share company news. Articles come from our own team as well as other experts in the field.

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