CONNECTIONS Europe 2016: Key Market Trends to Come
Last week we were once again in Amsterdam, attending CONNECTIONS Europe 2016, an event hosted by Parks Associates that brings together connected home industry experts from all over the world and of which we are proud sponsors. This year’s conference was focused mainly around three main topics: delivering consumer engagement and value, innovative partnerships and new business models, and transforming the user experience.
Essence’s Head of Marketing Rafi Zauer also participated in the session ‘Smart Home and Controls: Value proposition for a Complete IoT Experience’ where he discussed —together with other industry experts— innovative partnerships as a means to increase the value of the connected home experience.
As always, CONNECTIONS Europe has been a very valuable opportunity to identify the key market trends that are redefining the connected home industry and that will shape our near future. We want to share this knowledge with you:
1. Voice interaction
This has been an extremely hot topic at this year’s conference. Voice control and its applications for the connected home industry have been all over CONNECTIONS Europe, with Amazon’s Alexa being discussed in almost every session.
2. Data analytics
The use of data is crucial for service providers to gain more than just RMR from their customers’ use of smart home services and devices. Each vertical requires specific insights that make their entry into connected home services much more valuable.
3. Real time behavioral analysis
Also known as ‘the thoughtful home’, this concept brings the “smart” home to a new level with the ability to recognize the identity of residents, using usage patterns to automate functions in the home. We are not just speaking about a connected house, but a house that learns and is capable of using that information in the future, adapting itself to the user’s needs.
4. Door locks
Connected/Smart locks are becoming more visible in the market. Some industry experts even consider them the entry point into the Smart Home. In fact, sales of this type of devices seem to be rapidly increasing. According to SDM Magazine, the three big drivers of the connected home market are smart lights, locks, and thermostats.
5. Competing communications protocols
The industry is no closer to a standard protocol and most platform providers are not banking on one protocol or another but are creating interfaces for all of Z-Wave, Zigbee and now BLE. Thread is still in its infancy but is backed by Google and some other large corporations so it will probably become a major player. DECT ULE has some very strong technical advantages, including long range that doesn’t rely on mesh networking.
6. Platform vs. Devices as entry point into the home
Smart point devices that deal with a specific use case (Nest, Hive, Echo, etc.) are tending to be the most popular entry point into the connected home for early adopters. This means that they buy a smart device and then add more devices to it to create a platform. Traditional consumers and average users, however, prefer it the other way around, and purchase the platform as a whole set of integrated devices that can be expanded over time.
7. Insurance as an upcoming connected home service provider
Following security, telcos and energy companies, insurance companies are tipped to be the next main vertical to offer smart home services. The advantage for them is that the existence of safety devices in the home helps to reduce the chances of damage and the subsequent claims. In fact, the largest claim-related expenses for insurers in Europe result from water damage, so having a leak-detector in place may help prevent significant loses. Also, customer loyalty tends to be low in the insurance field –customers use to choose the cheapest option every year, so offering a continual valuable service may be a way for insurers to combat this.
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