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The Smart Home Is Coming of Age

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By Jaipal Singh – Associate Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India

“Your phone rings. But it is not someone calling you to have a conversation. Instead,it is your door phone,indicating the arrival of the guest at your doorstep.You welcome the guest from your smartphone (which is paired with the home hub controlling all devices at home) telling them that you will be back home in sometime.Meanwhile, you unlock the door from your smartphone and allow the guest to enter the house. Sensing the arrival of a guest, the lights in the guest room automatically turn on, your smart speaker welcomes the guest, and share a small brief on how they can use the guest room’s smart feature to relax until your return.”; This is not from 2030, it is possible right now!!! You can turn your entire home smart with gadgets and devices that talk to each other and are intelligent enough to pre-empt your next move as they learn more about your habits and activities.

As the concept of smart homes becomes popular across the world, we are witnessing a growing demand to reshape and redesign the existing products and enable them with intelligence so that they can detect a problem and send an immediate alert via an internet connection, even if you are far away from the problem area.When it comes to adoption, India has really progressed well in terms of adopting smart TVs and digital adaptors in the last two years. Rising internet penetration, affordable devices, and growing localized content from the streaming platforms have enabled a quick migration in the home entertainment segment.

However, India still lacks in adopting smart home solutions,especially in the security and lighting segments. One major barrier for mass adoption is the price difference between smart vs non-smart devices in these two key segments.Also, the process of connecting all of them via one centralized hub remains cumbersome with multiple devices from different vendors, working on multiple platforms.Moreover, since most of the smart solutions merely offer automation features as an add-on, hence it does not seem to be working as a catalyst to get these users switching from their traditional systems.

The positive trend which is going to make a significant difference in India is the rise of the startups in this eco-space. These startups are providing smart home kits which are much affordable and can work with your existing set up to turn your home into a living dream.There are also system integrators who are working closely with real estate builders to install the relevant smart home devices in their upcoming projects in India.On the other side, the high decibel marketing around voice assistants by Amazon and Google has helped to popularize the conversational aspect and its uses.As a result, we are now seeing increased demand for voice-enabled automation as a key feature in their future homes.Embassy Group became the first real estate company in India to launch Amazon’s Alexa enabled smart homes in 2018, and ever since then, this has been adopted by many more builders to use pre-installed voice assistants as a selling point to attract new buyers.

There were more than 20 brands which were selling wireless surveillance cameras in 2018. This year, a host of new devices are expected in the video surveillance market, especially smart door locking system and video phones are the much-expected devices, which will further enhance the experience of smart homes in India. These devices will be much affordable and tweaked as per Indian preferences.However, vendors will still have to invest significantly to educate users on the benefits of these smart devices.Efforts are also required to establish the concept of video surveillance for kids, aging parents, and pets among the working parents in India.

When it came to making home appliances smart, Samsung introduced a smart refrigerator that can keep a track of your eating habits and even tell you expiry dates of the stored food. Another home appliance maker LG is aggressively expanding its horizon of smart appliances to the washing machines, air purifiers, and vacuum cleaners.The overall focus is to make appliances more connected so that you can easily operate them from anywhere, and save your time and money by optimizing the actual usage of these appliances.

As much as this concept looks appealing, it will continue to challenge the device makers to reinvent their product and go-to-market strategies. While the households in top 10 cities are expected to be the early adopters, the consumers from the next tiers are expected to gradually upgrade to this new set up and would need localized use cases to understand the significance. So far the brands have been targeting through a vanilla approach with limited product portfolio for Indian homes, where most of the products are just the replicas of their global portfolio priced for India.However now, there is a clear shift in thinking, the growing ecosystem is commanding the growth of smart homes and aligning their thoughts with the way Indian consumers look into their homes. Also, brands are seeding the new way of living to millennials who are the next buyers of homes in India. So now, it is the right time to say that the Indian smart home market is ready to dive in!


If you have an interesting article / experience / case study to share, please get in touch with us at [email protected]

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