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INSIGHTS

2022: Why it will be a pivotal year for the smart home

2022: Why it will be a pivotal year for the smart home
2022 may prove to be a pivotal year for the smart home industry due to several positive developments. This note discusses what will be hot and trendy in the smart home market this year.
2022 may prove to be a pivotal year for the smart home industry due to several positive developments. This note discusses what will be hot and trendy in the smart home market this year.
 
The smart home market has been growing over recent years. This came in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic. “The smart home has only been minimally impacted by COVID. In fact, Omdia’s forecast has been revised upward. Although overall growth slowed in 2020 relative to previous forecasts, most brands said their business recovered quickly during the second half of 2020, which helped keep the smart home market on a similar path as previously projected,” said Blake Kozak, Senior Principal Analyst for Smart Home at Omdia.
 
In fact, according to Kozak, the pandemic has partially driven the growth of the industry as more people stay at home and rely on smart home solutions to improve the home experience.
 
“The smart home concept has had to evolve because people are spending more time at home. This means changes to typical home scenarios regarding lighting and HVAC. Consumers became more interested in devices like smart thermostats and air quality monitors during the height of COVID as well. Furthermore, smart speakers experienced a record-breaking year for sales to the tune of 72 million shipments in North America, a YoY increase of 70 percent,” Kozak said.
 
Besides the pandemic, what other factors will influence the smart home market this year? What smart home solutions will be trendy and hot? We look at these in detail below.
 

Interoperability and smart sensing: 2022 ‘matters’

 
One key trend to watch for is interoperability, which is expected to be a key driver for smart home growth this year. “Although brands will continue to offer proprietary solutions, like Moen’s water management solution, there is tangible evidence that suggests brands are ready to partner to deliver the smart home of the future,” Kozak said, adding this is made possible by connectivity standards like Matter (formerly known as Project Connected Home over IP or CHIP).
 
“Matter will be the driver for interoperability not only for consumers but for B2B ventures, like with home builders, insurance companies, utilities, and apartments,” Kozak said.
 
Another trend is smart sensing, especially by innovative technologies like radar, which can identify if someone has fallen, for example. “Wi-Fi sensing and radars were on full display during CES 2022. Several brands were showcasing how radar can be used to monitor for health and wellbeing, from Sengled to Leedarson IoT Technology,” Kozak said.
 

AI: Ubiquitous in smart homes today

 
AI has become a more common feature in smart home solutions, and the trend will continue this year and the years beyond. “AI is ubiquitous in smart homes today. From thermostats that combine occupancy with time of use pricing from utilities to the security camera that filters out trees and bushes to only alert for certain objects. Robot vacuums are also using computer vision and AI to avoid objects while security systems are using advanced algorithms in attempt to reduce false alarms,” Kozak said. “As home appliances become more common, premium models offer computer vision that identifies food and suggests expiration dates to help reduce food waste. Ovens and microwaves now include food identification technologies to automatically cook food based on a recipe and washing machines can identify clothing material, soil and weight to optimize detergent usage.”
 

Better energy efficiency, healthier living via actionable intelligence

 
2022 will also see better energy efficiency and healthier living delivered to the home, thanks to actionable intelligence enabled by smart home solutions.
 
“For example, Nest Renew includes a feature called Energy Shift, which will activate heating and cooling during times when the grid is using cleaner energy, like wind or solar. With information from impact reports, consumers can decide when to run large appliances or cool/heat the home based on when the electricity is cleaner,” Kozak said. “Besides smart thermostats, brands like Schneider Electric have introduced smart electrical panels that aim to identify the devices in home that consume the most energy. By conducting this analysis at the panel, consumers have more options to leverage programs from utilities or in-home capabilities like solar and solar storage. Schneider is counting on Matter to help with this implementation.”
 
Kozak added: “For better health, many brands now offer audio and video analytics to measure breathing and listen for signs of distress. Specific to air quality, brands like Awair and Airthings continue to develop new products that detect pollutants like radon, PM1.0, PM2.5, VOC, and CO2. These pollutants are becoming especially important for consumers in urban areas working from home because high levels of pollutants, like CO2, can reduce productivity.”
 

Supply chain issues

 
Despite the rosy outlook, there are still certain risks looming over the horizon, namely supply chain issues that have impacted various industries. The smart home market may not be excluded.
 
“Although COVID had a minimal impact on growth in 2020 and 2021, Omdia expects 2022 and 2023 could be difficult years for the smart home market depending on freight and shipping conditions. Omdia’s did an analysis of supply chain risk for various consumer electronic devices including smart speakers, thermostats, and security cameras. As the consumer electronics (CE) ecosystem is squeezed by problems up and down the supply chain – from component shortages to production shutdowns to transportation delays – all devices face constraints, but not all devices will be affected equally,” Kozak said.


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