Today’s home security landscape continues to embrace new technologies. If you want to keep tabs on who’s at your door, doorbell cameras from Amazon-owned Ring, Honeywell, Skybell, Arlo, and others are solid options. Homeowners who’d rather see the doorbell video directly on their TVs, however, can look to satellite provider DISH for another solution. The company recently announced a new integration with Google Nest that enables the video feed generated by any Nest camera, including the Nest Hello Video Doorbells, to be viewed on any connected TV powered by DISH’s Hopper pay TV platform. The enhanced functionality won DISH a BEST Award at the virtually held CEDIA Expo this year.
Prior to this latest integration, DISH Hopper users could receive an alert, via a static image in a pop-up window on screen, when there was motion sensed by a Nest Hello Video Doorbell. Hopper users can launch a live video stream through an on-screen menu, or by using voice prompts with the DISH Voice Remote. DISH has taken a bold step in integrating products from a third party – Nest, in this case – and subsequently increased the value of both the Hopper platform and Nest cameras. The Nest line continues to play a larger role in smart home security thanks in part to Google purchasing a stake in ADT over the summer.
“Seamless integration is the next step in the smart home evolution,” said Stuart Sikes, Interpret’s SVP of Research. “While Amazon and Google’s smart speakers have initiated integration of multi-vendor products, the tight integrations like DISH and Nest are offering will be table stakes for future home appliances. These integrations will first be accomplished by individual vendor partnerships, but eventually will just work, like plugging a new device into the home electrical outlet.”
Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix® research finds that the more smart products a consumer owns, the more they expect the products to be able to work together. The majority of consumers who own two or more smart home devices state that interoperability is important to their next purchase – a concern that device makers must more actively address in their customer communications.
A common complaint in the age of COVID-19 is unreliable internet service to the home. Increased usage of connected devices across millions of homes appears to be straining the internet infrastructure. According to Variety, US homes have an average of 11 Wi-Fi connected devices and that number is rising fast. With most new TVs being smart TVs, streaming video to televisions, game consoles, PCs and tablets are a growing strain on home networks. Wi-Fi 6, the next generation standard in Wi-Fi technology supporting a 6GHz band, could be a possible solution.
Wi-Fi 6 is theoretically 2.5 times faster than Wi-Fi 5, and offers four times as much bandwidth, while using less battery power. The increased speed and bandwidth should be particularly useful for online gaming and streaming of 4K video content, assuming the incoming internet signal from a user’s ISP is sufficient.
The industry is moving in the direction of adopting Wi-Fi 6, but it’s important to recognize that not all devices currently support the technology. Smartphones from Samsung, Apple, LG and Huawei support Wi-Fi 6, and computers from Asus, Dell, HP and Lenovo also do, but not Apple (although Apple’s latest iPads support the new standard). Moreover, the current crop of smart TVs and streaming media devices do not support Wi-Fi 6.
There’s a clear hurdle for the end user to enjoy the new standard. Consumers will need a new router – and that will not be supplied by an ISP or cable provider for a long time. The cost to upgrade is also going to give some consumers pause. Higher capacity routers available at retail frequently employ mesh network technology, meaning they come in kits of two or three devices spread around the home and typically cost $350 to $600.
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, 8% of consumers report already owning a mesh network router, and 7% intend to purchase one in the next three months. Wi-Fi 6 router pricing is likely to come down and support will grow as well, leading to further adoption in the years ahead. There’s also a Wi-Fi 6E technology in the works. A day will come when complaining about your home internet connection will be a relic of the past.
Earlier this month, Amazon announced “Alexa for Residential,” a campaign designed to make it easy for apartment managers and landlords to configure Alexa-powered devices and make them permanent fixtures in housing units. According to Amazon’s own research, 84% of renters want smart home amenities and 61% are willing to pay a monthly fee for a voice assistant. This represents a sizable opportunity for the smart home industry as younger, tech-savvy renters begin leaning more heavily on smart home devices.
Amazon is assuming that outfitting apartments with smart home equipment will enhance the perceived value of a unit and increase an apartment community’s appeal. The company is also betting on renters not being concerned about privacy issues, or that their landlord may be listening in. Privacy is a major issue in the smart home market, as Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix® research indicates that nearly 50% percent of consumers are highly concerned about privacy. Moreover, our Matrix determined that first time smart home product buyers are often single women over 40 who rent their home, and are frequently more cautious about trying new technology.
“Landlords of apartment communities may find that offering Alexa is not effective at attracting the middle-aged renter, but is seen as an attractive amenity by younger renters. Our data provides a clear picture around privacy concerns, and younger renters simply don’t share the same privacy concerns as older generations,” said Stuart Sikes, SVP at Interpret.
Interpret data shows that Gen Z and Millennials have the fewest privacy concerns of any age group. Only a third of people aged 18-24 in the US are highly concerned with the data shared about them online; that figure climbs to around 41% for ages 25-34, but older brackets expressed far more concern about privacy.
The security business is very much in the crosshairs for the smart home industry, as evidenced by the recent investment by Google into ADT, which aims to make Nest devices a key piece of the company’s strategy. As more DIY solutions are available as alternatives to security systems, Interpret’s New Media Measure® research shows that many homeowners like the control and convenience that a smart home security system can offer.
Security systems owners cite control and convenience as reasons for purchase slightly more frequently than owners of standalone cameras. While standalone cameras are available at lower cost to the consumer, smart security system owners realize the added value, beyond protecting their home from fire or break-in, of controlling their entire home through their security systems. Similarly, owners of smart home security systems more frequently cite convenience as a reason for purchase. As homeowners consider their security options, there’s a real opportunity for security providers to emphasize the whole home automation features of a full system solution in order to differentiate.
The implication for home security systems vendors, as they face increasing competition from standalone product providers, is that they need to sell on far more than security, embracing and emphasizing the convenience and whole home control capabilities of their devices along with security. Differentiation will be increasingly important as new devices get smarter, as whole home automation is the professional security provider’s business to lose.
The smart home industry is quite literally having its “light bulb moment.” With more and more homes and businesses phasing out energy inefficient incandescent bulbs in favor of LED-powered lighting, the smart home industry is capitalizing on the LED trend as consumers upgrade their lighting solutions. In many countries, the high cost of electricity is driving people towards LED bulb technology, and for those looking to conserve energy and do their part to combat climate change, LED upgrades are an easy way to reduce total power consumption.
For the smart home industry, leading manufacturers can offer consumers the ability to vary lighting patterns as a significant deterrent to burglars, making smart lighting a logical and economical way to increase home security. Several smart lighting companies are also offering direct control from smartphones, meaning that it is no longer necessary to have a separate lighting hub.
According to Interpret’s NMM: Global Profiles®, smart lighting is the most popular smart home product across 14 countries after smart speakers and displays, with especially strong adoption in India, China, and Vietnam. Given the widespread adoption of smart lighting, we can expect to see increasing levels of integration with other smart home devices (in addition to smart speakers), including smart locks, security systems, smart doorbells. In fact, a number of high-end lighting companies have already integrated smart speaker technology into wall switches.
“As builders incorporate smart home features into new housing, and as consumers update their lighting, we expect smart lighting to become a standard for homes across the globe, meaning that smart homes will control lighting less by switches, but increasingly by knowing and sensing occupants’ patterns and desired scenarios,” said Stuart Sikes, Interpret SVP of Research.
Interpret SVP, Stuart Sikes, will present research and moderate the presentation entitled Opportunities Abound in the Builder / MDU Market at Silicon Labs’ virtual event “Works With” on September 9th. A panel of speakers representing companies implementing smart home products in new homes and Multi-Dwelling Units (MDUs), including smart lock maker Salto Systems, MDU integration companies PointCentral and Stratis IOT, and home security company Qolsys will present their viewpoints on the future of smart home products in multi-family housing.
Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix® research has determined that renters are almost as likely as homeowners to purchase a smart home product in the next three months. Smart doorbells, smart locks and smart lighting follow smart speakers as the most anticipated products to be purchased.
“The fact that renters show nearly the same interest in smart devices as homeowners shows that the devices are now seen as important and valuable to daily living, regardless of the occupants’ relationship to the residential property,” says Sikes. “Renters of new apartments and buyers of new homes will simply expect smart home systems to be a part of the offering.”
To learn more about the event, and to register, please visit the official event website.