App Developers Are Building Smart Homes Solutions For Themselves – ARC
Bob Vila may have been the king of the do-it-yourself home improvement movement in the 1980s. But did Bob know how to hack his thermostat?”
The market for smart homes is one that an increasing number of companies are trying to tap. The concept is popular among developers and consumers, but the reality is that only 30% of developers currently engaged in the wider Internet of Things ecosystem are building connected home apps on a professional basis. Data from Vision Mobile’s Smart Home Landscape 2015 report, says that 36% of identified smart home developers are building apps for their own homes, while another 32% are merely testing the waters to see what is possible within the boundaries of the IoT.
Recent research by Gartner said that there would be up to 700 million smart homes by 2020, fueled by mass consumer adoption and an increase in the number of devices and apps available. In recent years, the concept of connected homes has gone from the realm of the Jetsons to practical working models, although it is probably fair to say that the majority of devices currently available to residential owners fit more into the HVAC and lighting sectors.
Building connected home apps, the report says, is not popular among the 2,400 IoT developers surveyed, with only 20% choosing to do so. The study said that 57% of all hobbyists—non-professional app developers—opt for smart homes as a preferred side project, many of whom are doing so without considering any possible revenue opportunities.
Mass Adoption Of Connected Homes On Hold
One reason why apps developers choose smart homes as a hobby is that the connected home hasn’t really hit the mainstream. Numerous devices are available to consumers that can create a smart home, but the market is deemed to be immature and certainly nowhere near the levels that early adopters would have expected.
Being able to control heating, lighting and other home comforts is all well and good, especially as those devices can learn and predict behavior, but the practical applications are often overshadowed by glitches and bugs within the system. In addition, the devices themselves are not inexpensive and there is not (as yet) a must-have or game-changing platform.
Public perception of the IoT has also not helped grow the smart home sector. Relatively few forceful reasons exist to invest fully in a connected home. In fact, the majority of current devices are already on the wrong side of Gartner’s 2015 Hype Cycle and expected to reach the Trough of Disillusionment within five years. It is worth noting that the wider concept of the connected home itself is still believed to be in the nascent stage of development and will likely reach maturity by 2025.
Smart Homes Developers Must Spark Innovation
Writing on the VisionMobile blog, senior business analyst Stijn Schuermans said that the smart home sector needed to undergo some changes to fully reach its potential. Citing the fact that hobbyists are not really advancing smart home apps, he says that it is the ecosystem itself that needs to evolve.
Several shifts need to happen for the Smart Home to reach mainstream. Smart Home Hobbyists and Explorers need to graduate into Smart Home entrepreneurs. Those innovators need to discover new, more compelling use cases. Thirdly, a new generation of Smart Home platforms must empower entrepreneurs to bring those solutions to market. The good news is that these shifts are already in motion.