A combination of widespread tablet and smartphone use, increasing high-tech confidence and growing concern among younger home owners about environmental impact and energy consumption are all set to push connected homes and smart devices into the mainstream by the decade’s end.
The latest report by Frost & Sullivan on the Asia Pacific region’s growing appetite for smart devices shows that while home automation is already big business — the industry made US$181.3mil (RM584.78mil) in 2012 — the majority of systems being bought are still bespoke and high-end systems that require installation and are aimed squarely at the luxury end of the market.
However, thanks to the ubiquity of tablets and smartphones, the market is expected to shift dramatically in favour of the average, albeit tech-savvy consumer.
"The integration of tablet computers and smartphones with home automation solutions are likely to appeal to the mass segment," said Frost & Sullivan Energy & Environmental Research Analyst Janice Wung.
"Additionally, the current purchasing forces in the market are more technically savvy and willing to embrace new technologies. Hence, a higher number of end users are likely to install home automation systems."
For most existing home automation solutions offered in the Asia Pacific region, installation and set up represent up to 40% of total cost and this is also having a negative effect on how consumers perceive the systems — many consider them as lifestyle products and therefore not essential to day-to-day life.
Smart home systems at the service of informed energy consumption
Frost & Sullivan believes that this mindset is about to change. The new generation of home buyers are not only younger and more confident around all things high-tech, their understanding of major issues such as climate change, renewable resources and environmental impact is expected to create a boom in the demand for home automation products focused around energy consumption and preservation in particular.
Their popularity will also be driven by rising energy prices and of course once established as a market segment, systems will add value to existing properties in the future, in the same way that a premium fitted kitchen or walk-in wardrobes do today.
"With greater demand from end users for improved lifestyle, property developers have begun to tie home automation installation into their packages," noted Wung.
"The offer of more properties with home automation also serves as an industry marketing campaign to educate and raise awareness among end users about home automation systems."