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Key trends in the smart home market: January 2019

8 Apr 2019 | Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home & Michael Philpott, Senior Practice Leader, Consumer Services

Amazon expands the “Key by Amazon” portfolio

Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home

Amazon has been steadily moving forward in the smart security space. At CES 2019, Amazon announced the launch of new products, features, and services for its now-called “Key by Amazon” portfolio (originally known as Amazon Key). The name change aims to reflect the broader scope of Amazon’s portfolio that offers a key-free smart living experience, based not only on in-home package delivery, but also on easy access control for users. Amazon’s announcements include an all-in-one Wi-Fi lock from Schlage; “Key for Garage,” designed for in-garage delivery and supported by Chamberlin; new compatibility with the Ring app for access control; and “Key for Business,” a smart fob for drivers delivering Amazon packages. These announcements show that Amazon still heavily relies on strategic partners with trusted consumer brands such as Yale, Kwikset, and Schlage to upgrade its smart lock strategy, and subsequently its in-home delivery service, instead of developing its own branded solutions. Amazon is usually not afraid to go beyond its core business, but until it becomes 100% sure about sticking its brand into smart locks, partnering will be the norm to make progress in this area.

Ikea launches voice-activated smart blinds

Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home

Ikea is making progress in the smart home industry by slowly increasing the breadth of its portfolio. When the Tradfri collection was first introduced, Ikea had only budget-priced smart lights to offer. Now, the company is launching a new line of low-cost smart blinds that work with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant, and Apple HomeKit. In general, smart blinds have been perceived as a luxury item, usually targeted at consumers at the high end of the smart home market. Ovum believes Ikea will rapidly gain ground in this niche segment due to its more affordable prices (e.g., €99 for a pair of smart roller blinds), competing against companies such as Lutron and Somfy that not only offer more expensive solutions but also don’t have Ikea’s strong branding behind them. Additionally, going to market with a new product that already offers interoperability with important AI assistants will be a crucial sales driver. Beyond affordability and AI integration, to grab more territory in the smart home space Ikea will also need to keep it simple in terms of deployment and ease of use. When building a smart home, customer support is an important element of the user experience and Ikea will have to work more on this area to ensure everything goes smoothly for users.

ADT unveils revamped smart security system at CES 2019

Michael Philpott, Senior Practice Leader, Consumer Services

ADT is the biggest smart home security service provider in the western world with just under 3 million subscribers as of December 2018. At CES the company announced a new brand for its smart home offering, ADT Command, together with a new touchscreen panel called the ADT Command Panel. Ovum is not normally a fan of introducing new consumer devices where they are not needed and where existing smartphones/tablets can do as good a job, if not better. However, in this case the new ADT Command Panel makes sense as it adds value to the overall home security offering. Being a dedicated device to control home security, as well as other compatible smart home devices, the device includes battery backup and dual-connectivity to increase device and network resilience and features two-way encryption RF sensors to reduce the risk of hacking (an increasingly publicized issue with smart home devices). With cheaper and more DIY smart home security products entering the market, ADT must continue to innovate and show customers why its solutions warrant that professional services premium. ADT Command is a step in that direction.

Lowe’s will shut down its Iris smart home platform

Michael Philpott, Senior Practice Leader, Consumer Services

The smart home market is a fragmented one, with a number of proprietary or semi-closed ecosystems out there. As it develops, there are bound to be winners and losers along the way and Lowe’s is the latest company to hit the bumpers. Unfortunately, this means that customers of the Iris smart home line will need to quickly find another solution to their smart home as all devices connected to the Iris hub will no longer function as of the end of March. To be fair to Lowe’s, they are not completely leaving customers in the lurch as they are recommending the Samsung SmartThings hub as a potential hub replacement and offering customers a refund for devices that are not compatible with SmartThings. However, this is still a huge inconvenience to customers that have heavily bought into the platform. As the smart home market continues to evolve, Lowe’s is unlikely to be the last player to get their business model wrong, leaving more customers to foot the bill of replacing redundant devices and technology.

Orange-Groupama to offer home surveillance services in France

Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home

Orange and insurance group Groupama have teamed up to create Protectline, a new home security company that will offer subscription-based video surveillance services for the French market. Groupama already has a significant presence in the residential security market with a wide-ranging service portfolio. Conversely, Orange needs to build a brand in the security market. The upcoming launch of “Protected Home” will enable Orange to achieve this goal and at the same time revamp its overall smart home proposition, focusing on security as a key use case. However, Orange will need more than a strong brand to stand out. If Orange wants to become a true multiservice operator, integrating its new Djingo smart speaker into the new smart security offering will be a key step to show clear differentiation.

For more from Ovum, click here.

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