M2M and Smart Homes on the Rise

As M2M continues to add convenience and efficiency into every aspect of our lives, it’s only natural to expect this to include our homes. Fortunately, the market for home automation continues to provide consumers with additional ways to stay connected on the homefront.

ABI Research, www.abiresearch.com, projects the market for smart home appliances will be worth roughly $25 billion by 2018. This would amount to a compound annual growth rate of 92%, due largely to growth in North America, China, and the Asia Pacific Region. North America alone is expected to see revenues above $500 million this year.

The report credits the projected rise in worth to the notion that thus far, connectivity features are mostly limited to top-end, more luxurious products. However, in time that connectivity will be made available in lower-tier products.

The report notes Wi-Fi is preferred by appliance manufacturers for wireless connectivity, and projects more than 21 million Wi-Fi enabled appliances will be shipped by 2018. However, because of the high energy consumption required for Wi-Fi connectivity, technologies like ZigBee, Z-Wave, and Bluetooth will eventually gain their share of the market, says ABI Research.

ABI senior analyst Adarsh Krishnan says the capabilities of these connected devices for the home are relatively limited at the moment, but will expand as time goes on.

“Smart home appliances have yet to incorporate features that add significant value for their premium price,” Krishnan says. “Smart home appliance features are at present limited to remote access through mobile devices. The true value of these smart grid ready devices, such as use in demand-response energy management programs, is several years away and initially will be primarily U.S.-based.”

There is little doubt the home automation market is continually expanding. A more recent example of this expansion comes via UXP Systems, www.uxpsystems.com, a multiservice and personalization gateway provider for next-generation TV. The organization recently teamed with iControl Networks, www.icontrol.com, a company which provides technology for the connected home, and announced the integration of UXP’s MINT software suite with iControl’s connected home platform. This integrated solution will be offered to iControl’s network of broadband service providers through the iControl OpenHome Partner Program.

This new collaboration will allow users to monitor and manage their homes and empower them with new home entertainment options. Users may customize their preferences as they wish and access multiscreen voice and viewing capabilities from smartphones and tablets. Users will also be able to integrate social media elements into their entertainment.

“Through iControl platforms, UXP Systems’ MINT software will allow providers to offer next generation video and blended service features with greater reach and flexibility,” says Jason Domangue, vice president of ecosystem development at iControl.

As prevalent as connectivity has become in modern society, all signs point to this becoming even bigger in the years to come. At some point in the near future, our very homes may become hubs of connectivity.

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