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Digital Home Network Monitoring Market

The home monitoring market will undergo major growth as a result of robust consumer interest and the emergence of new technologies offering digitally networked services and enhanced functionality compared with traditional systems.

In a recent IDC poll of 1,500 consumers, more than half expressed interest in the ability to monitor and control heating, ventilation, and air conditioning, as well as electricity and home appliances from an external PC or wireless phone.

The home security and monitoring market has changed little in decades and remained largely unaffected by the Internet. The major difference between traditional and next-generation security systems is that the latter are broadband-based and offer redundant connectivity via wireless and voice, while most ADT systems rely on voice or wireless alone.

Likewise, the home automation market is not mature and has few consumer applications with widespread appeal and ease of use. Emerging vendors profiled in a new IDC study include InGrid, iControl, and uControl.

The latter two allow the networking of compatible home utilities and appliances, linking home security and monitoring with energy management, and can potentially bring home automation to the mainstream.

"The new home security systems are digital, broadband-based, and give the user unprecedented control, including the ability to log in and control systems from anywhere," said Irene Berlinsky, IDC research analyst. "New distribution channels through cable and telecommunications companies will reach non-traditional customers and potentially expand the entire market."

Changes in the American landscape (aging baby boomers, rising energy prices) will increase long-term demand for home security/monitoring/automation services. The speed of adoption will depend on how quickly service providers roll out such services to their customers.

They are in an ideal position to push these services because consumers contact them directly to sign up for or transfer service upon moving to a new residence. Also, existing customers that move are likely to call their cable or telco before their home security provider, presenting an opportunity for the former to sell a home monitoring service compatible with legacy systems.

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