Despite the increasingly public discussion regarding the smart home of the future, it seems that custom installed solutions are never going to be the dominant players in the market. Instead, Juniper Research believes that the market will be dominated by the likes of Amazon, Apple, Google and Samsung, with other companies vying for attention.
Amazon has already made quite an impact on the smart home thanks to the launch of the Amazon Echo. This Alexa-powered speaker is already capable of a controlling a whole slew of IoT products and the number continues to grow – as evidenced at CES 2017. Juniper believes that Amazon has the greatest potential to lead the smart home charge, despite big spending from some of its larger competitors.
The author of the white paper notes: Research author Sam Barker commented: “Amazon has managed to maximise its value proposition for Alexa by partnering with a large range of complementary players in the market, whilst utilising its own cloud platform to set Echo and Alexa apart from its competitors in terms of functionality.”
Outside of Amazon’s smart home ambitions, Juniper states that Samsung is currently the second largest smart home manufacturer. This has been evidenced by the company’s acquisition of the SmartThings platform, while integration of that platform has trickled down to other products in the company’s line-up – including its smart TVs and even its ludicrous Family Hub fridges.
Google, or more specifically Alphabet, is in third position – most likely due to the company’s recent Amazon Echo competitor, called Google Home. It also has the Nest line-up of products, which is largely responsible for thrusting the smart home into the lives of ordinary consumers.
Apple rounds out the ‘Big 4’, as Juniper puts it, although outside of its HomeKit ecosystem there the company hasn’t really made any major advancements. Instead its system feels more like a me-too than a revolution, although it does allow for Siri voice control with smart home products.
It’s expected that those four companies will hold a monopoly on the smart home market come 2021. While other players are in the marketplace, including some of the bigger names in the custom installation industry – such as Crestron and Control4 – Juniper forecasts that companies outside the ‘Big 4’ will either have to rely on game-changing products or to integrate their products into the services and ecosystems offered by the ‘Big 4’.
Outside of the politics of the ‘Big 4’, elsewhere in the smart home industry it’s expected that adoption will be higher in North America than in other markets, with Western Europe trailing by a significant margin. In fact, Juniper believes that North America will comprise 38% of all smart home revenues in 2021, while Western Europe and the Indian subcontinent will vie for second place.
There may be a distinct reason behind North America’s dominance however, with Juniper noting that many of the big players already call the region their home. Some of the more medium to small size players, who have been largely responsible for the increased awareness of smart home products, are also not in the position to have a global footprint – keeping the smart home revolution firmly in North America. Even big name smart home products, such as the August smart lock, have yet to see a release outside of the US.
Even if those type of products launched outside North America, it’s not sure the Western European market would have the same appetite for home security that their American cousins enjoy. Juniper noted that while home security is an important feature in the smart home for Americans, Western Europeans didn’t hold the same interest – instead demanding home comfort solutions.
In terms of which smart home products will see the best adoption, Juniper believes that the entertainment segment of the smart home will be the most viable in terms of consumer uptake. Meaning devices such as the Apple TV and the Nvidia Shield TV have the best possible chance of success.
Despite the advancements in the market however, it seems that the smart home cannot yet be classed as ‘smart’, according to Juniper. The research firm said that at this present stage it would be more accurate to refer to the smart home as the ‘connected home’. No matter what it’s called, the market itself is set to be worth $195 billion in 2021.