Not all smart home systems are alike.
There are essentially two types: those that are professionally installed and those that are more do-it-yourself like.
This was quite obvious at CES in January, with companies like ADT, Brinks and Carrier promoting home security systems that come via their installation prowess in the field while marketers from companies like UltraSync Smart Home argued that consumers want to buy and install the systems themselves.
Both are right, of course, depending on the market segment.
The market reality is that there’s healthy growth in the professionally installed smart home market while the self-installed market continues to lag in adoption, based on a new study by BI Intelligence.
Aside from voice-activated speakers like Amazon Echo or Google Home, even the most popular do-it-yourself home devices are seeing relatively sluggish sales, according to the study, which comprised a survey of 160 U.S. members of a BI Intelligence panel, 23% of whom own at least one smart home device.
By 2021, BI Intelligence projects that 14 million homes will have a professionally installed smart home solution, many provided by legacy companies like ADT.
Meanwhile, many well-known companies still are moving full steam into the smart home market. For example, Apple released its self-installed smart home ecosystem Apple Home and Google launched Google Home.
Some tackle the smart home market with the intent to enhance some element of their core business. For example, Amazon can sell goods on Amazon Prime via voice ordering through its Echo product line, even though that may not be the primary use by consumers. For example, here are features used at least once by Echo owners:
- 85% — Set a timer
- 82% — Play a song
- 66% — Read the news
- 64% — Set an alarm
- 62% — Check the time
- 46% — Control smart lights
- 45% — Add item to shopping list
- 41% — Connect to paid music service
- 32% — Buy something on Amazon primer
- 30% — Control smart thermostat
Consumer technology companies are betting the smart home market will soon gain traction.
There are three key benefits companies such as Apple and Google gain from marketing smart home devices. They are to be able to collect and analyze data on consumer usage, build customer profiles to study consumer behavior for improved ad targeting and the ability to update devices over the air, thus avoiding any potential recalls.
Consistent with other studies, BI Intelligence found the main hurdles to greater smart home adoption to be high prices, consumer awareness and technological fragmentation.
None of those are insignificant issues.