Info & Answers
Smart Homes Are Getting Smarter and More Popular
Mobile device apps and wireless are two major drivers.
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July 07, 2011 by Grant Clauser

Analyst firm Berg Insight is claiming that smart home installations will be a $9.5 billion market by 2015. The group says that in 2010 the number of installations was a little less than half a million (.44), but growing at a compound annual growth rate of 32.8 percent to 5.38 million in four years.

That growth in installations will also mean a big boost in revenue for installers and manufacturers, up from $2.3 billion last year, according to Berg.

Where’s all this growth coming from? The housing market is still down. The economy still feels pretty recession-y. Lots of dealers/installers have closed their doors for good. Yet, according to Berg, mobile devices deserve a lot of the credit.  “First is the pull from consumers in the mobile age, who desire to use products such as iPhones and iPads to control their lifestyles through user-friendly interfaces,” said lead analyst Alan Varghese.

Yup, it’s the iDevice again, driving the smart home market. Consumers are getting so comfortable tapping and swiping through apps that they want to make their whole house that easy to operate.

Read about Home Automation FAQs here.

Other stimulants, such as regulatory issues that mandate communities to exert better control over power usage, plus cable and internet providers such as Verizon and Comcast trying to move beyond their traditional areas into smart home features, are contributors to this trend. Also, the report notes that the cost of the technology is coming down, allowing manufactures to offer less expensive systems that require less custom programming.  This all leads to the smart home becoming more than just a feature in the homes of the affluent.

The report predicts that mainstream homes (it doesn’t specify what a mainstream home is, but I’m guessing it looks like mine) will include some smart home features. In 2010 only 0.1 percent of mainstream homes include any smart home features. By 2015 Berg expects that to reach 4 percent—not huge, but significant growth.

Does that 4 percent number mean something as small as a universal remote, wireless lighting switch or IP security camera, or is it something bigger? The report doesn’t make that clear.

A few things will drive the smart home revolution: wireless connectivity, security, mobile device apps. And let’s not forget smart TVs.

If you haven’t added any smart home features to your mainstream home, what do you think you’d want to add first?

Read 10 Home Automation Trends here.

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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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