There was a time when the notion of a “smart home” was simply one with walls to keep the elements out. Anything beyond that was science fiction. But innovation has made science fiction into reality, and now smart appliances communicate through the Internet of Things (IoT). A refrigerator notifying an app when it’s low on food? It can happen. Smart home entertainment systems can play music or record favorite television shows with simple voice commands. Crock pots sense when food is cooked and reduce the temperature. It’s a brave, new world. And with the IoT now a part of banking, agriculture, communications, and even cities themselves, it’s a world that’s expanding.
Just how big is it getting? Juniper Research estimates that manufacturers earned some $60 billion from smart home entertainment systems in 2017. That’s a big business. Which makes it worthwhile to keep an eye on the leading vendors and market trends of the sector.
The Industry Leader for Smart Appliances
There is a demand for smart home entertainment systems, smart toys, smart circuit breakers and smart wearables in virtually every corner of the planet. But one only has to step into a kitchen where everything talks to each other to see that the demand for smart appliances is exploding. The smart home market is anticipated to increase from $76.6 billion in 2018 to $151.4 billion by 2024, according to MarketsandMarkets Research Private Ltd.
Samsung has emerged as a leader in the smart appliances market. The company’s Family Hub smart refrigerator allows users to view refrigerator contents remotely. The smart refrigerator also sends out alerts about expiring food. Family Hub will simultaneously suggest recipes and plan meals that include those soon-to-be-expiring food products.
Family Hub can be integrated into a smart home entertainment set-up as well. TV mirroring allows viewers to watch what is on TV in the living room through the refrigerator’s touch-screen panel. “People love this feature, specifically around game-time—where people don’t want to miss a play while preparing food,” says Adnan Agboatwalla, Director of the Innovation Programs at Samsung Electronics America.
Smart Home Entertainment Systems Dominate the Market
For now, fun, cool and sometimes quirky smart home entertainment systems dominate the market for smart appliances. MarketsandMarkets expects the demand for such smart devices to see even more rapid growth. The smart home entertainment system category includes smart TVs and mood-match lighting systems like Philips Hue. It also includes smart music systems and smart speakers.
App-based hubs like Amazon Echo and Google Home will enjoy a particularly robust expansion as well.
Forrester Research Inc. foresees an increase in the number of U.S. households with smart home entertainment systems in the coming years. The company says homes with smart appliances will increase from 26 million to 66 million between 2018 and 2022. Smart speakers built by Google, Amazon, and Apple are likely to lead the expansion.
People who buy smart home entertainment systems look mostly for devices that promise speed and convenience.
A Messy Space… For Now
Despite the high demand for smart appliances, the road to mass adoption is going to be rocky. Purchasing, setting up and connecting smart home entertainment systems are costly and sometimes burdensome. Many buyers often simply give up. Forrester’s survey indicates that one-third of smart speakers are still in their boxes. Frank Gillett, Vice President, and Principal Analyst at Forrester, says that the market for smart home entertainment is difficult to pin down.
There are also misgivings. Security, privacy, and trust remain a big concern among owners of smart home entertainment systems. Charles Golvin, a senior director analyst at Gartner Inc., says many are wary of the Internet of Things. He adds that many assume a “big brother is watching” frame of mind. In the U.K., about 33% of the population does not trust smart home technology, according to a survey published by OnePoll last year.
Even so, innovators see opportunities in the demand for reassurance concerning smart appliances and systems.
“It is not a matter of if but when these systems will be compromised, and the consequences could be much more severe than lost social security numbers,” says Dimitri Stiliadis, founder, former CEO and current Chief Technology Officer of Aporeto Inc. “Addressing security and privacy will become a fundamental concern that will shape this industry.”
If that’s the case, then the smart appliance sector – specifically, the security aspect of it – will expand. The rise in smart technology ownership means more people will need their devices protected.
No matter how you look at it, though, one thing is certain: this growing industry will continue to grow.