August 18, 2011
| by Rachel Cericola
Despite a dim economy, home automation is on the rise. According to new numbers from ABI Research, 1.8 million home automation systems shipped globally this year. That number is expected to explode by 2016, when the research firm expects about 12 million systems to get sent out.
Of course, it helps that service providers are starting to push the tech, making it more readily available to consumers worldwide.
Verizon is one of those providers. In December 2010, the company announced plans to offer a plan called Verizon Home Monitoring and Control, starting at $9.99 per month. That basic service includes remote monitoring, as well as control of cameras and Z-Wave lights, locks, and other appliances.
Verizon just started rolling out the service, which is available in three levels under the Verizon Home Monitoring and Control umbrella. Other service providers, such as Canada’s Rogers Wireless, Orange in France, Telecom Italia and Australia’s Telestra, all offer some form of home automation and/or monitoring option.
Besides educating consumers and actually getting them to sign up for services, it seems that these service providers all face a new set of challenges.
“Service providers are still facing significant challenges,” says Sam Lucero, practice director, M2M connectivity. “Telco and cable operators now have to develop and deploy software management platforms to specifically enable the management of home monitoring services. This challenge has resulted in a swift consolidation within the small market that is privately-held home monitoring software platform vendors, with 4Home being acquired by Motorola Mobility, iControl and uControl merging, and Xanboo being acquired by AT&T.”
ABI Research’s findings are detailed in a report titled, “Home Automation and Monitoring.” The study looks at home automation and home security markets, as well as the use of cell phones in both areas. It also includes market forecasts through 2016.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.