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Friday, April 02, 2010

Consumers are Unaware of Home Automation Needs

Revenue from shipments of home automation systems will exceed $11.8 billion in 2015, according to the latest market study by ABI Research. That number includes all four categories of home automation -- Luxury, Mainstream, DIY and Managed.

However, the luxury segment is forecast to deliver the greatest revenue.

In addition to quantitative market measurement, ABI Research also sampled U.S. consumer attitudes with a September 2009 survey. Nearly half of the 1001 respondents did not know what the term "home automation" actually means. A further 43 percent understood the concept but had no system installed.

According to ABI practice director Sam Lucero, "Our survey results show that a major challenge is simply lack of awareness on the part of mainstream consumers. Other issues for consumers were the expense, and a perceived lack of need for home automation."

Regardless, Lucero believes that the home automation market is approaching an inflection point beyond which its growth rate will increase significantly, for the following reasons.

- Vendors are taking advantage of standards-based wireless and powerline technologies to drive down costs and expand the addressable market.

- Companies in related home systems markets are increasingly targeting home control and monitoring functionality in their devices.

- Home security service providers view home monitoring and managed home automation services as a means of accelerating growth.

- Telco and cable broadband service providers see managed home automation services as a way to increase revenue.

- Utilities can use home automation technologies to help homeowners reduce power usage.

How do these drivers map with buyer intentions? An average of three quarters of the 39 percent of survey respondents who intend buy a home automation system within three years rated three functions as the ones they would expect to use most -- energy management, home control, and security.