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After Four Decades As The 'Next Big Thing', The Smart Home Finally Arrives

Mar 5 2014, 2:22pm CST | by

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After Four Decades As The 'Next Big Thing', The Smart Home Finally Arrives
 
 

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After Four Decades As The 'Next Big Thing', The Smart Home Finally Arrives

For some time, there’s been a trusty saw which says the smart home industry is always one or two years away from being the next big thing, but every year some other ‘next-big-thing’ cuts in front of it in line.

After 30 or 40 years, that’s a lot of other next-big-things.

To use another old saying, the smart home is always a bridesmaid but never a bride…until now. You don’t have to look far to see a white hot market, what with $3.2 billion acquisitions of connected thermostat makers.

So what’s changed? Here are four reasons why the smart home is no longer a bridesmaid:

A Rebranding

People in the home automation industry realized talking about automating your home doesn’t capture the imagination of consumers. Nowadays the focus is on making your home more intelligent and livable with exciting new point products such as Nest or smart locks. Lots of marketing dollars from big service providers and home improvement stores help too.

Industry Recalibration

In 2009, the great recession put many home system integrators out of business. At the time, hardly anyone could afford a ten or even hundred thousand dollar home automation system. Eventually lower cost offerings came to market, which helped save those scrappy integrators who embraced them while also serving to expand the addressable market.

The Mobile Revolution

Ten years ago, if you wanted a portable home automation controller, chances are you’d have to drop a thousand or more bucks on a clunky proprietary device. Luckily for all of us, along came the iPhone and app revolution, and nowadays it’s near impossible to find a smart home company that doesn’t have a mobile app.

Creator Democratization

Like many other industries, the smart home space has thrived as a result of cloud computing, open source hardware and crowdfunding. Whether it’s new smart home platforms like SmartThings, connected point solutions like Lockitron or established players like Belkin, there are numerous examples of companies benefitting from an increasingly democratized technology market.

The bottom line is the smart home is no longer the next big thing. It’s big now.

The smart home has finally arrived.

Michael Wolf is a partly cynical smart home analyst for NextMarket. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog or subscribe to his newsletter to keep up on the smart home. 

Source: Forbes

 

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