Once a novel concept, home automation has quickly grown into an industry that is to be taken very seriously. Recent reports from Transparency Market Research estimate that by 2019, the home automation market will be worth $16.4 billion, up nearly $13 billion from when it was valued in 2012.
If the dollar figures aren’t enough to impress you, consider the fact that Google, Apple, Samsung and Microsoft are all desperately vying to get top market share and are in the process of merging with start-up companies so they are able to provide their technology exclusively to their platforms. If you are wondering how the home automation race is playing out, here is a short list of the major players and their recently acquired partnerships:
Google – Nest
Earlier this year, Google paid an incredible $3.2 billion for ‘Nest Labs’ the developers of the Learning Thermostat and Protect Smoke Detector.
This was followed in June 2014 with the acquisition of DropCam for $555 million, a start-up company providing wireless video cameras that can store and stream footage through their cloud-based service.
Previously tight-lips about involving third party developers into its plans, Google earlier this ear announced that it was opening its doors to third party development. Watch this space for more announcements over the next few months.
Apple – HomeKit
Apple recently announced their foray into home automation with HomeKit, a system capable of connecting and operating devices within your home through your iPad or iPhone.
Tim Cook also announced Siri integration, meaning you can control the whole home hands free, telling every device what to do with the simplest of commands.
Samsung – SmartThings
Samsung have been holding their own (and then some) in the smartphone competition for a few years now. Their foray into home automation is one that should be taken seriously, and although they have made no official announcements past their $200 million acquisition of SmartThings in August this year they seem to have a strategy in place that will make them a strong competitor.
SmartThings is both an app and piece of hardware that allows users to customise their home, including monitoring who is present in the home, control your lights, devices, electronics and appliances and customise the actions that take place in your home.
Microsoft – HomeOS
Microsoft have their own contribution to the market with HomeOS, an operating system that allows in-home connectivity.
In addition to this, they have also recently invested in 10 start-ups that will help their efforts in the home automation market. From ‘Heatworks Model 1’, a fully connected hot water system to ‘Plum’, which allows Wi-Fi connected control over lights and appliances. Microsoft is hoping to be able to allow control over most aspects of your home and recently announced a partnership with Insteon, a major player with over 200 products built for smart homes.
It seems that all four key players are aiming to do the same thing, allow users control of their in-home connected devices, and by using their own applications and equipment. Its going to be a tight market over the next few years with each brand trying to outdo each other. Home automation is an industry to watch, and it will be interesting to see how the big players compete.