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Study: Each Home May Have Over 500 Smart Devices by 2020

The falling cost of adding sensing and communications technologies to consumer products will catalyze the evolution of smart homes over the next decade, according to the Garner study.

by Moulishree Srivastava, McClatchy News Service / September 10, 2014
Samsung display at Gartner Symposium/ITxpo 2013 Flickr/SamsunTomorrow

New Delhi: An average family home in a mature economy may have more than 500 smart devices by 2020, a study by Gartner Inc. said on Tuesday.

The falling cost of adding sensing and communications technologies to consumer products will catalyze the evolution of smart homes over the next decade, it said.

These products will range from media and entertainment, such as consoles and TVs, to appliances, such as cookers and washing machines, to transport technologies, security and environmental controls, and healthcare and fitness equipment, according to Gartner.

The number of smart objects in the average home will grow slowly for at least a decade because many large domestic appliances are replaced infrequently. However, a mature smart home will come into existence between 2020 and 2025. These homes will use wireless technologies including Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and cellular, and a range of gateways and adapters to bridge different standards and protocols.

“We expect that a very wide range of domestic equipment will become ‘smart’ in the sense of gaining some level of sensing and intelligence combined with the ability to communicate, usually wirelessly,” said Nick Jones, vice-president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “More sophisticated devices will include both sensing and remote control functions. Price will seldom be an inhibitor because the cost of the Internet of Things enabling a consumer ‘thing’ will approach $1 in the long term.”

The study also said that governments across countries will see the increasing intelligence of domestic technology as a way to influence consumer behaviour or improve the delivery of services to citizens.

Some elements of smart home technology including remote-controlled switches and dimmers have been available for many years, but have not found traction beyond techno-geek users. The study said that despite many business opportunities afforded by the smart home, the concept may face challenges in the near future.

“Consumers are also likely to have concerns over data usage, security and privacy,” it said. “A lack of interoperability and standards may also hinder the adoption of smart devices.”

“Devices in the smart home will demand connectivity; some will demand high reliability as they’ll be performing vital functions such as health monitoring, so homes will require reliable high-speed Internet connections,” said Jones. “If these connections fail, many domestic devices might be forced to operate in, at best, a degraded manner. If homes become as dependent on good connectivity as businesses, they will need fallback systems.”

©2014 the Mint (New Delhi)

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