Smart Home Trends to Watch in 2022 and Beyond
Smart Home trend analyses conducted by Omdia dictate that the market’s future is bright … if we seize the right opportunities.
There’s no doubt about it - we’ve witnessed a considerable global uptick in Smart Home device sales since the pandemic set in, and it shows no signs of slowing down as consumers seek solutions to reduce energy consumption, improve safety, and automate those mundane household tasks that have engulfed many of us work-from-homers.
However, as the Smart Home market continues to grow there remain some question marks over which devices and systems will dominate and why. Developers hoping to seize this economic opportunity must first overcome issues related to connectivity, installation, interoperability, and cybersecurity.
The exciting thing is that technological advances, including (but by no means limited to) wireless connectivity, edge computing, and artificial intelligence, are increasing the impact of IoT in our homes and opening the doors to a bright domestic future.
Omdia has released a report, which identifies and explores some of the factors that could influence the final trajectory of the market. The firm asserts that our ideal state will:
"[…] see homes combine device data and electrical and water usage as part of integration schemes with utilities to provide actionable intelligence. AR and proactive digital assistants lead seamless integrations of devices in a household. AI and computer vision enhance user experiences and improvement in capability. Neighborhood-wide networks allow users to expand smart home/IoT technology beyond home." (page 6)
Smart Home Trends
Omdia’s report analyzes the seriousness, urgency, and potential of some 20 Smart Home trends tipped to impact market growth. Here are a few to whet the appetite (or you can dig into the full report for free now!).
Wireless Technologies & Matter
The availability of lower-cost, higher-performance wireless technology has boosted IoT development. New wireless technologies like Sidewalk and existing tech like Ultra-wideband (UWB) and Thread are expanding Smart Home use cases.
Sidewalk is Amazon’s new Sub-GHz solution that not only enables extended range but also a distributed network similar to cellular. In the Amazon Sidewalk ecosystem, devices connect to the cloud via Sidewalk-enabled gateways (ie. Smart Home devices ranging from Amazon Echos to Ring doorbells, floodlight cameras, etc), which leverage existing protocols. Such an approach facilitates new creative solutions that expand beyond the house and into the neighborhood.
While improvements in wireless access networks and the introduction of new protocols provide a wide range of connectivity options for the Smart Home market, this abundance has resulted in a proverbial spaghetti mess. Matter, which is a royalty-free home automation connectivity standard, seeks to address this problem by unifying IoT connectivity across the different ecosystems and protocols.
Omdia predicts that Matter will be the catalyst for Smart Home growth, Thread will gain share due to Matter, and UWB may possibly supplement Bluetooth in certain applications, such as smart door locks.
"Matter will play a vital role in spearheading this growth curve. Although Omdia believes that Matter itself will not solve consumer challenges at the retail level, what Matter brings is a shift in resources for brands to focus on value-added services and features. Before Matter, the certification processes and APIs could slow or hinder product releases, but with Matter, theoretically, this should be less of a constraint." (page 39)
Knowing, for example, your real-time energy consumption at home and working on ways to reduce it is the first and most important step. This starts with accessing live data and using analytics to support decision-making. The next chapter in the Smart Home’s evolution will involve creating a layer of artificial intelligence to enable autonomous decision-making on an ongoing basis.
AI algorithms can train a model, evaluate its own performance, and make predictions. Whether we’re talking about AI-enabled access control, predictive maintenance for HVAC systems or smart lighting sensors, advancements in artificial intelligence present us with great opportunities to redefine the whole Smart Home concept.
If everything unfolds nicely, and Smart Home becomes truly mainstream, Omdia envisions AI being embedded all around the home - in the refrigerator, the oven, the microwave or in bedrooms for accurate sleep tracking. The firm also predicts that AI will improve safety in the home too, whereby security solutions from the likes of ADT and Vivint are no longer just intruder systems.
"Using AI to reduce false alarms is a relatively new trend. Although Alarm .com is not the first, with Ambient Insights, it is the latest example of using advanced tech to reduce false alarms and improve user experience. These platforms are also embracing broader use cases, such as water, energy, security, and air quality." (page 15)
The next generation of AI-based solutions will likely live, train and inference on the edge, only sending results across to the cloud. This is mainly because cloud-driven AI is constrained by connectivity. The ongoing expense of maintaining the cloud is prohibitive, while latency issues do not meet the requirements for real-time inferences and remediation. AI models trained in the cloud and then later deployed to a local environment are not seen as capable of evolving in the context of the local environment. Plus, fears that data can be intercepted and stolen along its journey up to the cloud are very palpable.
With less reliance on the cloud, edge-based solutions can improve privacy and security, although they may reduce recurring monthly revenue opportunities according to Omdia.
Stress-test your Smart Home Strategy
As the adage goes, success is where preparation and opportunity meet. Omdia’s ‘Smart Home Market Dynamics Report’ runs through the factors influencing technology adoption today and the potential future of the market across the coming decade. We’ve only highlighted a few of the trends here. Why not explore the rest and crosscheck your Smart Home strategy against the latest market trend analyses.
For further Smart Home insights download Omdia’s Smart Home Market Dynamics Report.