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AUTOMATION / GENERAL

Broadband & Mobiles Fuel Billion Dollar Smart House Industry

By Matthew Lentini | Tuesday | 12/07/2011

Smart homes that see appliances, audio-visual systems, lighting and security intuitively controlled by devices are set to globally expand as global revenue more than triples by 2015.

Home automation systems are becoming more popular on the back of the consumer pull for wireless smartphone control on iPhones and iPads and broadband providers pushing into the 'Smart Home' market with new services, according to a Berg Insight paper published this month.

These networked home systems that allow home owners to control their houses from home or abroad are now being pushed by broadband providers entering the market which are looking to become more than just "dumb-pipes" for data.

The current forecast sees global revenues for home automation system shipments growing from US$2.3 billion last year to up to US$9.5 billion in 2015.

A large portion of this rides the wave of cellular M2M devices and services, the majority of which are security and access control systems.

M2M connections in home automation systems are predicted to see a compound annual growth rate of 85.6 per cent from last year's 250,000 to 5.5 million in 2015.

Google jumped into the home automation market with the announcement and demo of its own Android@Home wireless control system in May, meshing home network controls into the popular Android operating system.

With the first products to begin rolling out by the end of 2011, Android's popularity could boost the uptake of smart home solutions on the back of smartphone popularity.

The Berg Insight paper cautions home automation installers on consumer deterrents from these systems, including the perceived costs involved including ongoing maintenance.  There is also the idea that consumers don't see a strong enough reason to invest in home automation, especially if they are not building their house from the ground up.

The paper points to interoperability and standardisation as home automation companies strategise between offering standalone smart home technologies or move toward holistic multifunction systems.

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