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Top Smart Home Technology Trends of 2017

From massive data breaches to the release of the new iPhone to the introduction of breakthrough innovations like paying with your face, last year was quite eventful for the technology space. Amongst the clamor, one particular noteworthy tech industry that has gained tremendous momentum was the smart home technology space. As we step into a brand new year and look forward to even more exciting innovations and happenings in 2018, let us review the 4 trends that revolutionized the smart home industry in 2017.

Reign of Hubs and Controllers

The number of smart gadgets in each home is growing — from speakers to doorbells, refrigerators and home security cameras. So there’s a growing need for a central hub to interface with all of your smart home gadgets and other aspects of your life like email, telephone, calendar and shopping.

In 2017, Amazon released its 2nd generation Echo, a speaker that is powered by voice assistant Alexa. By simply saying “Alexa,” users get access to connected gadgets, skills, information, news, entertainment and more. And while it’s not yet a trend, we appreciate how a viral video from a hacker who modified Alexa to speak out of a Billy Mouth Bass resulted in the company making plans to put the product on the market in 2018.

smart home assistant Alexa

Currently, Amazon holds 70% of the market on voice-enabled speaker devices. The other big player in the market is Google Home, which came on the market in 2016. In an independent study that compared Google and Amazon’s smart home hubs, Google Home was found to have significantly superior functionality and is six times as likely to answer a user’s question than Amazon’s Alexa.

Despite the functional differences between the two brands, Amazon’s market domination continues to build. In the 2016 holiday season, Echo sales grew more than 800% according to Motley Fool. And after Black Friday 2017, Amazon reported that “Customers purchased millions of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices this weekend, and Alexa devices were the top sellers across all of Amazon.”

Alexa Integrations

One of the reasons why Alexa has such a corner on the market is the massive amount of integrations that are possible.

It integrates into everyday functionalities like email, calendar and weather. It can perform research like finding a nearby restaurant or when the next train is scheduled to arrive. And it can even shop for you using simple commands like “Alexa, re-order paper towels.” The newest innovation is the release of the Echo Connect in December which allows for integration with the Ooma Telo so that you can place hands-free phone calls. All you need to do is say: “Alexa, call Mom.”

Alexa connects with millions of apps, including Spotify, Uber and Domino’s Pizza. And of course it connects with your smart home gadgets — Philips Hue light bulbs, Nest devices, Ooma home security devices, LG refrigerators, televisions and even some cars made by Ford and Volkswagen.

Demand for Security with Internet of Things

While consumers are drawn to the digital integration and optimization that is possible with smart home technology, CEO of Immotor Daniel Huang said, “Along with it came concerns from consumers about the security of their connected devices.” He said that in 2017, much work was done by tech companies to safeguard IoT enabled devices and smart home gadgets.

smart home devices for the internet of things

For example, during a search for compromised IoT devices on a local network, the company Armis stumbled on a flaw in all Bluetooth-enabled devices putting them at critical risk for hacking. With 5.3 billion devices having the flaw, a coordinated effort was made with Google, Microsoft, Apple and Linux developers to release software patches. “Android users can download a scanner app developed by Armis from Google Play in order to check if their devices are affected,” said Forbes Magazine, but it’s much more difficult to test or patch the software on smart-home devices. “Users don’t have a simple way to check the Linux kernel version on their smart TV or on their car’s infotainment system.”

Although Apple’s version of a smart-home hub, the HomePod with its voice-assistant Siri, is not nearly as competitive as Amazon or Google in the smart-home market, it is working to differentiate itself by focusing on user privacy and security. For example, Amazon and Google openly harvest user data, but Apple uses anonymous ID security so that searches aren’t tracked back to its users. Motley Fool notes that it wouldn’t be the first time that Apple came from the back of the pack with a product that was much more expensive than its competition and then proceeded to dominate the market.

Preparing for the Next Wave of Consumers

Smart home technology is still in the early adoption stage. That means the industry needs to prepare for wider growth of the technology to users who may be less tech-savvy or who don’t follow the smart-home product market that closely.

Knowing that, Best Buy has positioned itself as the brick and mortar resource for smart home technology. In order to prepare for the predicted smart-home market growth of 14.5% in the next five years, Best Buy will be showcasing Amazon Echo and Google Home devices and demonstrating how they interact with smart home devices like lights, security systems and appliances. The rollout of Alexa and Google experiences has already happened in 700 stores and the company has added 1,500 dedicated Smart Home store employees. With the smart-home technology frontier upon us, it will be helpful to have assistance when getting our refrigerator to tell the oven what we’re having for dinner.

Sources:

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Thad White

Thad is the Director of Product Management at Ooma, responsible for driving great user experiences across Ooma’s portfolio of hardware devices, mobile apps, and services. Thad has more than 20 years experience building and managing consumer tech products at leading tech companies including Yahoo!, BlackBerry, and 3jam (acquired by Skype). He has worked on messaging and communications products used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide. Thad holds a BA from Rice University in cognitive science and linguistics.

1 Comment

  1. windows 10 support
    March 28, 2018    

    the information is given in this post about the smart home really impressive and useful post, after reading this post I am so excited to use this technology in my home .thanks for this post

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