Be Smart about the Smart-home Trend


Welcome to the 21st century — we now have speakers that can control lights, fans and even door locks; and vacuum cleaners that double up as surveillance bots. A few years back, these devices would have sounded like the imaginary brainchildren of a science-fiction writer, but today they are actual products in the market, made possible by the Internet of Things.

Welcome to the 21st century — we now have speakers that can control lights, fans and even door locks; and vacuum cleaners that double up as surveillance bots. A few years back, these devices would have sounded like the imaginary brainchildren of a science-fiction writer, but today they are actual products in the market, made possible by the Internet of Things.

20.4 billion connected things by 20201. An economic impact of $11.1 trillion a year by 20252. Such is the power of the Internet of Things — an intricate and global ecosystem of everyday appliances, gadgets and devices connected to computer networks. It underpins numerous phenomena that are transforming all industries: enterprise automation; flipped classrooms; smart cities; and digital healthcare, just to name a few.

In the article “Why 2017 will finally be the year of the smart home: consumers figure it out”3, CNBC forecasted that home automation, while not entirely new, is gaining traction. Some 80 million smart-home devices were shifted in 2016. Asia’s smart-home market is booming, and is expected to reach $115 billion by 2020, accounting for 30 per cent of the global avenue4.

How will the proliferation of smart homes transform businesses? How can entrepreneurs take advantage of the opportunities? Let’s find out.

Rethinking business avenues

It is not just the fancy smartphones or wearables that are becoming smarter. Washing machines, water pitchers and even door locks are making a splash in the Internet of Things milieu. Amazon has launched its Dash Replacement Service5 allowing appliances to automatically order replenishments such as detergent, water filters and batteries when the supplies are about to run dry. With such an appealing one-stop solution, it is likely that customers would switch their trusted brands for competitors that offer them greater convenience. Product businesses looking to thrive in this new age of technology must begin to explore new channels and partnerships.

Smart-home innovations that improve lives

As any successful business mogul would agree, the first step to running a sustainable venture is to identify customers’ pain points. For elderly and people living with disabilities, smart homes are a boon, imbuing them with a sense of independence — they can turn the lights on or off with their smartphones or use voice control to change TV channels.

Other than increased convenience, safety is a huge motivator for customers to start embracing smart living. In “The Next Big Opportunity for Tech Entrepreneurs? ‘Smart’ Homes”6, guest writer Gideon Kimbrell says that entrepreneurs looking to tap into the smart-home sector’s potential should focus on launching products that keep occupants safe. Parents want home monitoring systems that alert them when their children reach home safely; homeowners seek smoke alarms that can self-diagnose and report faults to ensure 24/7 failsafe performances. All these solutions help customers to build not just a modern but also the safe home they dream of.

By addressing the needs of their target audiences, entrepreneurs can then create niche products that will be in high demand.

Improvements to existing innovations

Currently, most smart home appliances and devices operate in silos. There is one app for TVs, another for lighting. Different products across a variety of brands also require disparate configurations. There are existing hubs that unify these solutions, but even the best offerings in the market are beset with problems such as confusing interfaces or complicated setup processes, opines Tom’s Guide7. As such, there is still room for a universal solution that can help consumers integrate these devices and design a truly smart home.

SOURCE REFERENCES:

1http://www.gartner.com/newsroom/id/3598917
2http://www.mckinsey.com/business-functions/digital-mckinsey/our-insights/the-internet-of-things-the-value-of-digitizing-the-physical-world
3http://www.cnbc.com/2017/01/04/why-2017-will-finally-be-the-year-of-the-smart-home-consumers-figure-it-out.html
4https://www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/smart-home-market-asia-reach-115-b-2030-1747551678
5https://www.enterpriseinnovation.net/article/smart-home-market-asia-reach-115-b-2030-1747551678
6https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/295464
7https://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-smart-home-hubs,review-3200.html