Will Windows 11 change the connected home landscape?

Microsoft recently announced Windows 11 as the future of the Windows experience. Changes include a more modern, streamlined design that looks more like smartphone and tablet interfaces, and integrated video conferencing and chat software, building on the world’s thorough embrace of video meetings during the pandemic. Microsoft noted that the operating system also offers better file management tools and is optimized for video games.

Aside from giving Microsoft more ammunition in its longstanding battle with Apple, Windows 11 reflects the company’s evolving philosophy of openness. The platform is designed to be compatible with as many products as possible, including those that run on different operating systems, such as Google’s Android. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has even invited Google to bring its app store, the Play Store, to Windows. In a move to attract more app developers, Nadella has invited developers to sell their apps on Microsoft’s store for little to no commission.

“Microsoft has missed out, with few exceptions, on opportunities in smart home, home entertainment and smartphones,” remarked Stuart Sikes, Senior Vice President at Interpret. “Aside from Xbox, the company’s main success continues to be the PC and enterprise solutions. Opening the platform to new applications and concepts developed by third parties could bring the company new opportunities in the smart home space and might even tie-in nicely with Microsoft’s PC ecosystem in connected homes.”

Even before Windows 11, we could see a hint of things to come. In May, Microsoft revealed that Samsung’s SmartThings app would be compatible with Windows 10. SmartThings already works with thousands of smart devices, including products from Amazon, Phillips Hue, Ring, and Sonos, and Windows 11 is likely to expand Microsoft’s smart home capabilities. This will become important as the average consumer purchases more smart home devices and looks for a seamless experience.

Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix™: Consumer research finds that the more devices smart home product owners acquire, the more they desire to connect them together. The relationship is linear, with just over 50% of smart home product owners ranking connectivity importance high when they own two devices, jumping to 62% for smart home consumers who own five or more devices.