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February 2019 ertonline.co.uk


“In 2019 it will be difficult to find a smart home device that does not work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant,” says Futuresource Consulting’s Filipe Oliveira


Left: Samsung SUHD TV T


he CE industry is awash with internet- enabled, connected products that offer hands-free, remote controlled, voice-activated, generally all-round smart uses. The CES show in Las Vegas recently showcased the latest top technology where some of the key players in the smart market, including Amazon and Google, were dominating the show floor. In addition, things like smart speakers were high on people’s Christmas lists in 2018, with reports that there was even a shortage of Amazon Echos at certain points as well, and there’s no sign of this popularity slowing down.


In the summer of last year, a survey of 6,000 people in the UK and USA by AI sound technology software firm, Audio Analytic, found that more than a third (35 per cent) of households owned smart speakers, such as Amazon Echo, Echo Dot, Sonos, or Google Home. Of those consumers who didn’t own any smart home products, a quarter planned to buy a smart speaker within the following 12 months – more than any other devices. For many people, smart speakers are the entry point into the connected home – once someone


security to consumers who have installed cloud connected security, climate control, lighting and power in their homes. “Increasingly, smart home technology employs AI (Artificial Intelligence) that allows devices to adapt to the consumers’ routines and preferences without being directly commanded. However, in terms of the key use cases and product areas we do not expect big changes in 2019. That means


without the need of other dedicated hubs. This increases opportunities (that already existed but become even more salient) to bundle devices with a best seller: smart speakers. They should also note that this reduces the appeal of dedicated smart home hubs.” However, Matt Nimmons, Managing Director of CEDIA, believes that speech recognition technology still has plenty of room left to develop,


“Increasingly, wellness is becoming a focus for the home automation industry – with systems that monitor and control air quality, for example and, more recently, lighting that matches the body’s circadian rhythm.” Matt Nimmons, Managing Director of CEDIA


has a voice-activated smart speaker, this can act as a catalyst for them to add additional devices and services, such as smart lighting and smart thermostats to control the temperature of their home. For retailers to make the most of this boom in new technology, it seems that now is the time to act to avoid missing the boat. “In 2019 it will be difficult to find a smart home device that does not work with Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant,” Filipe Oliveira, market analyst at Futuresource Consulting, tells ERT. “The widespread use of voice assistance in the home has taken place while the main smart home use cases remained broadly unchanged: monitoring, diagnostics, remote control and automation have promised (and mostly delivered) convenience and


smart security, smart thermostats, smart lighting and smart power will continue to be the key areas in the smart home.” Futuresource forecasts 38 per cent volume


growth in smart home for 2019. The industry as a whole is expected to see continued, strong growth with smart power products being one of the key growth areas (among many others). Smart plugs and sockets are easy to install and turn any device connected to them into a smart device (in the sense that it can be controlled remotely). Retailers should note a move in smart home


from low range, low energy protocols towards Wi-Fi, Mr Oliveira explains. “This means devices connect directly to the home Wi-Fi and can be controlled by a smart speaker with voice assistant


with AI expected to become increasingly significant, with its advanced capabilities meaning that more natural speech will become possible. Elsewhere, he says: “Increasingly, wellness is becoming a focus for the home automation industry – with systems that monitor and control air


quality, for example, and, more recently,


lighting that matches the body’s circadian rhythm. “The new frontier in home automation may be


water control. Flooding is one of the most common household


claims on insurance. Retrofittable


devices that monitor water flow and automatically shut off valves in the event of discrepancies were on show at the CEDIA Expo event in San Diego


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