There’s plenty of chatter about “smart homes”
these days, with almost as many definitions of what constitutes a smart home as there are folks writing about the topic. The technology has been around for twenty years
: platforms run the gamut, from very basic functionality
(like X10, which uses the electrical wiring in your home for communication) to very high-end solutions that cost big bucks. Finally we have reached a point where you can get the best technology
(like ZigBee and Z-Wave wireless devices) without a major upfront investment
. And since the trend is clearly in the direction of smart homes, as shown in recent research,
there is increasing competition from a wide array of providers.
Smart home cloud-based services revenues, which include home monitoring and energy services, will reach $5.8 billion worldwide by 2015, according to new research. Titled "Smart Home Sensor Networks," the report by technology research firm ON World Inc. states that 38 million households worldwide will have a smart home system by 2015.
And from another article on the subject:
Affordable managed services, ubiquity of smart mobile devices, demand for energy management solutions and consumer cost savings will increase Smart Home system shipments by more than 600% over the next five years, according to ON World.
Smart Home for the Average Household
"Demand for energy solutions has invigorated the smart home market," ON World Research Director Mareca Hatler says. "It's resulted in cloud-based innovations that make smart home services accessible for the average household. Of the more than 500 consumers surveyed for the report, four in five respondents are "interested" or "very interested" in security, safety, lighting and energy management applications. Meanwhile, 29 percent said they are willing to spend $10 or more per month for a smart home cloud service.
What You can Get
Ironically, it was homes security companies who were among the first to bring it together. For instance, Alarm.com, who wrote the book on interactive and cellular home security monitoring, already had a full suite of advanced services including remote alarm and disarm, text and email notifications of anything happening in the home, free mobile apps, and even wireless home security cameras: they now have added remote control of lights, locks, and thermostats, using Z-Wave technology. That means for a few dollars more a month, you get not only peace of mind, but incredible convenience and even energy savings as well. Alarm companies that specialize in Alarm.com’s advanced monitoring and home automation features have the most robust solution, with the best track record – like FrontPoint!
Who’s Leading the Pack?
Offerings include solutions for advanced security, lighting controls, energy management and home automation. "There are almost as many ways to deliver smart home services as there are smart home system variations," Hatler says. "Broadband and security service providers are the first to offer mass market solutions, and we are seeing disruptive offerings in the cable TV, mobile and retail channels."
Now the cable companies are jumping in, with a “bundled” service offering that includes smart home features. For those of us on the alarm company side of the fence, it’s clear why: cable providers need new revenue streams, and have unusually high cancellation rates in their “core” services (such as cable entertainment), which are very profitable. They also know that the average alarm customer stays around longer than the average cable customer: by offering a bundled service - you have to buy multiple services, not just home security or smart home - they hope to increase customer retention, especially on the profitable services. That’s the “gotcha” in the equation of companies like Comcast, a recent entry in home security and smart home services.
Would You Trust a Cable Company to Protect Your Home?
Initial consumer reaction to cable providers (and Comcast in particular) offering alarms is mixed, with one web site affiliated with Consumer Reports fielding many comments that indicated a thumbs down. Here’s the link, and my favorite is this one:
"We just received an alarm from your XFinity Security System. The police are scheduled to arrive between 9:00 am and 1:00 pm next Thursday. Please make sure someone is home to let them in. Or, if you prefer, you may choose the self-arrest option."
We’ll keep an eye on the competitive landscape for you, and post the particulars on developing trends and the latest technological advances. We do know that alarm systems have evolved, and that FrontPoint has led the way with 100% cellular monitoring and interactive features, including smart home technology. That’s why we're the leader in wireless home security, and home automation, and the #1 ranked alarm company in the US: we earned that spot with technology, pricing, and customer satisfaction that leaves the others far behind. That’s why smart (and smart home!) shoppers choose FrontPoint: safer, smarter, simpler, more affordable, and virtually impossible to defeat. Just read the rave reviews, and you’ll want a FrontPoint system too.