Technology | Media | Telecommunications

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Latest Trends in IP Networked Home Automation

Infonetics Research recently surveyed broadband service providers who are deploying either home automation or home control solutions, about the types of services they plan to offer now and in the future.

They asked about delivery methods, technologies and protocols, home monitoring equipment suppliers they buy from now and are evaluating for future purchases, and who they perceive of as the top suppliers in the field.

The results are published in a Infonetics report which offers an in-depth look into the latest trends in home automation (services offered via a broadband or mobile IP connection to the home).

"While the home automation market is still young, major operators, including Verizon, AT&T, Comcast, Time Warner Cable, and China Telecom, have already made public announcements regarding home automation services and some have begun initial rollouts, and many more will jump into the game this year," said Jeff Heynen, directing analyst for broadband access and video at Infonetics Research.

The potential customer loyalty and incremental revenue attached to home automation services -- particularly home security and home energy management -- are too enticing for any operator to pass up.

Many broadband operators are starting out small, offering remote control of lighting, doors, thermostats, audio, video, and security systems. The goal will then be to layer on additional revenue-generating services, such as a full-fledged home security system.

Highlights from the latest market study include:
  • The top two reasons broadband providers are deploying home automation services are to increase average revenue per user (ARPU) and reduce subscriber churn.
  • Home security service is the most popular home control service offered currently and will remain a top home automation service.
  • Monitoring of appliances and monitoring of whole home energy usage will see the biggest growth among home automation services between now and 2013.
  • While the bulk of Infonetics' survey respondents are fixed-line operators and service providers, there is strong evidence to suggest that mobile operators are also looking to muscle in on the home automation opportunity.
  • WiFi is the most popular wireless technology used by operators to deliver home automation services, but Zigbee and Z-Wave are growing fastest, seen by many as better options because they are low-power, mesh networking technologies.
  • Zigbee chips are being installed in most smart energy meters in North America and most companies developing smart home adapters are using it.
  • Control4 and Honeywell are viewed by respondent operators as the top home automation equipment and software suppliers.