Smart appliances — air conditioning that reads the weather, vacuum cleaners that map your floor plan, fridges that track your food consumption and order supplies — are a burgeoning business. Soon enough, your entire house could be high-tech and 'net-connected. The smart home and home automation market could be worth as much as $1 billion in Australia in just three years.
Telsyte has just released its Australian Smart Home Automation Market Study 2014, and some of the data inside is very interesting. The market is already worth $160 million in Australia — that's how much value there is in wireless routers, smart light bulbs and Internet-connected security systems this year — and is projected to reach a massive $917 million by 2017.
'Smart hubs' — wireless and wired routers, which bring together this vast and varied category of individual and disparate networked home devices — will be worth over $350 million as Internet of Things-enabled gadgets become more commonplace in Australia's households.
The report identifies five sub-categories that it thinks will become more defined in the coming years — smart light bulbs like the Philips Hue and LIFX, home wireless sensors like the Nest Protect and Thermostat, and smart gardening appliances all rate a mention.
According to Telsyte, being cloud-connected and controllable will be a pervasive feature across Internet of Things devices and the smart hubs that control them. You'll essentially be able to adjust your house's temperature, open locks, and do your washing via your smartphone or tablet from across the city or across the world.
Belkin's product manager for Australia and New Zealand, Dan Hall, is upbeat on the potential for smart home devices. “While the idea of the connected home has been around for a long time, its growth has a lot to do with both accessibility and affordability — the WeMo range being an important example of this. Moving forward, it will be about how such individual devices work together to deliver broader automation and benefit to consumers.
“As such, the industry will evolve from simple on/off functionality into broader lifestyle benefits, with intuitive devices and software such as IFTTT enabling multiple devices to work together. For Belkin, we believe the future is all about monitoring, managing and controlling your home, with areas such as energy consumption and home security leading the way via smartphone and tablet control.
“The more smart devices know about you — for example with a home network knowing who is home (and when) — the more home automation will evolve.”
The picture painted is one of a future where our houses are hooked up to the Internet not just through their phone lines and cable networks, but increasingly through a web of low-power, wireless, dedicated devices — for functions you didn't even know you needed. Weather-sensing thermostats sound sensible enough now; what smart appliances will we see five years into the future? [Telsyte]