Appliances and Electronics Our insights capture shifts in consumer lifestyles and themes impacting the global consumer appliances, electronics, and toys and games markets. Themes include new business models, sustainability, innovation and the future home.

Unlocking the Potential of Smart Homes

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Traditional smart homes have struggled to integrate devices from different platforms and brands. This lack of interoperability forces consumers to consciously decide which platform (Amazon’s Alexa, Apple Home, Google Home, or Samsung’s SmartThings) to adopt. The platform a consumer chooses means that they can only buy devices that support a specific platform, and makes planning a smart home more complex than necessary. Consumers also run the risk of having an obsolete smart home if the platform is discontinued.

Matter to the rescue

Matter, a connectivity standard founded by Amazon, Apple and Google, allows smart home devices to communicate with each other across any platform. As an open platform, Matter will allow interoperability between devices, allowing a free exchange of data. Interoperability will enable companies to provide better experiences, while consumers will enjoy improved and more personalised services.

Smart sustainability at home

The residential sector is one of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, accounting for 11% of the total, according to the UN. Besides the traditional areas of sustainability – energy efficiency, materials, and waste recycling – there are three emerging areas that are coming into focus: food waste, water recovery, and modularity and repair.

A smart home could help consumers reduce the impact of some of their bad habits. For instance, a smart fridge could prompt consumers to cook meals based on the food available, rather than letting food go off. A smart kitchen could also prompt consumers to eat more healthily. If these newer areas of sustainability are combined with the established focus areas of smarter energy and water management, the smart home could significantly reduce the impact that homes have on the environment.

Smart Homes Chart 1.svg

Experiential living at home

Of the many habits formed during pandemic lockdowns, playing video games appears to have had a lasting impact on consumer lifestyles. The proportion of people who play video games at least weekly is now higher than online shopping even as the world has returned to a new normal, making it an activity not just for avid gamers, but also mass consumers.

Smart Homes Chart 2.svgThe use of extended reality (XR) promises to elevate the user experience in the digital domain, and opens up limitless new business opportunities for companies to engage with their customers in both the B2B and B2C markets. Companies will need to engage with their customers online and offer immersive and experiential experiences, or run the risk of losing touchpoints with them, as many more consumers are spending more time online.

A home that becomes your companion

Our home is our castle, providing a sense of security and privacy. With the advance of technology, our home will soon become our sanctuary as well. The pandemic has taught us that humans can undertake a wide range of tasks from the home, given the right devices and technology.

As we grow older, our homes will also be able to provide companionship and care. Aided by advances in care technologies for older people, ageing in place will become an acceptable alternative to nursing homes. The smart home will be an integration of all these aspects and more, using robots, machine learning, and AI. It is probably not far-fetched to say that our homes could also be our companions.

Unlocking the potential of the smart home

The smart home has the potential to be an immense market. Corporations need to have a clear understanding of their position in the market – whether the company is focused on selling a product, service, or outcome. In the next decade, the focus will be on selling an outcome, rather than selling a product. Outcomes that align with consumer values such as ESG will resonate with consumers. Therefore, in addition to investments in research and development, investing in understanding the target consumer and their values will be imperative to win the smart home market.

Learn more about smart homes in our report, Smart Homes: How to Unlock the Potential


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