The pervasiveness of high-speed broadband, smartphones and tablets is having a remarkable effect on home networking technologies. Practically every home appliance and piece of consumer electronics is moving towards acquiring an Internet Protocol (IP) address, making it addressable and connected on the net. Consumers today already own multiple types of connected devices and this number will continue to increase over the next few years.
Connected homes are rapidly moving towards reality; the age of smart, automated homes is here.
We have already seen remote automation technologies such as controlling a thermostat on an air-conditioning unit via SMS or a security camera sending images to a remote monitor. More recently, TV sets are becoming Internet enabled, blurring the boundaries between a TV and a PC, bringing together a host of services such as online shopping, checking email, video calling and banking.
There are other facets of connected home that are interesting from an enterprise perspective. Smart metering and remote infrastructure monitoring is already a mature concept in many developed markets. And with appliances connected to the manufacturer's servers it will be possible for manufacturers to prevent break downs through remote diagnostics, provide predictive maintenance and thereby provide enhanced warranties ensuring a competitive edge. In addition, advances in cloud computing technologies and applying big-data analysis to the appliance data exhaust can help provide real-time service responses, and significant insights on usage patterns for various demographics to help create new products, services and business models.
Major innovation for service providers, device manufacturers and consumers is on the way. We are about to witness an exciting revolution, the catalyst for which is the emerging opportunity of connected home.
According to ABI Research, connected home devices are potentially the “Next Big Thing” in the consumer electronics industry and could reach a global market value of US$10 billion by 2014. The figure will balloon with growth in sensor and control technologies, mobile applications, network traffic, big data management, analytics and cloud computing
The drivers of connected homes
According to Nielsen1 , 46% of the mobile subscribers have smartphones while an enormous 60% of recent acquirers are opting for smartphones. The numbers point to a vast population that already owns remote “monitoring” and “controller” devices with connectivity.
Consumers are demanding more mobility, monitoring and controlling capabilities, centered on their desire for an always-on digital lifestyle. Manufacturers have already recognized an opportunity in the demand for such services and are re-engineering their products to be IP capable (refer figure 1 above for demand forecast by sector). Communication service providers are also driving transformations that can help them create and deliver innovative services, as theyexplore new avenues for growth due to the saturation in mature markets and increasing margin pressures. In addition, 4G deployments and advent of all-IP networks will further trigger the growth of connected home with increased capacity and infrastructure available.