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Smart home: Why it ‘matters’ in 2023 and beyond

Smart home: Why it ‘matters’ in 2023 and beyond
Without a doubt, one of the most talked-about trends in the smart home arena right now is Matter. So what makes it so hot and popular? This article takes a look at that, as well as other smart home trends to be expected for 2023.
Without a doubt, one of the – if not the – most talked-about trends in the smart home arena right now is Matter. So what makes it so hot and popular? This article takes a look at that, as well as other smart home trends to be expected for 2023.
Matter is a new standard for home automation. It’s supported by Amazon, Apple, Google, Comcast and the Zigbee Alliance, now the Connectivity Standards Alliance (CSA). The standard has quickly caught on in the smart home sector – ABI Research estimates that between 2022 and the end of the decade, more than 5.5 billion Matter-compliant smart home devices will ship.
According to Jack Narcotta, Principal Analyst for Smart Home at Omdia, Matter has gained strong attention for two reasons. “First, the companies that are backing it, especially Amazon, Apple, Google, and Samsung – it is a rare feat that CSA has accomplished to bring so many large and influential technology companies to sit at the same table working towards a common goal. Second, Matter is arguably the first approach to unifying the smart home that puts the responsibility on device makers, not on consumers,” he said.
Indeed, Matter is all about interoperability, fulfilling the smart home vision that devices of different brands and protocols work seamlessly with each other. This results in various advantages for home users.
“Three huge benefits for consumers are: a greater number of choices of devices and ecosytems, a simpler user experience in terms of initial setup and configuration, and local control (Matter smart home devices can still be controlled if a home’s internet connection goes out),” Narcotta said.
He added: “Matter is important because, perhaps once and for all, it will make connecting devices from any brand or ecosystem seamless for consumers. Matter removes some friction from two areas in particular: ‘walled garden’ ecosystems, and solution complexity. Many companies state they are open to interoperating with other brands’ devices, though beyond basic Alexa or Google Assistant compatibility, this is mostly not the case. As a communications protocol, Matter sets the stage for gates to be built in those walled gardens, making all Matter smart home devices interoperable, not just ‘also connected.’”
Narcotta cites an example of how Matter can benefit home users. “If one person in a home has an iPhone and their partner uses an Android phone, now both can use Siri, Google Assistant, or the controller app they prefer, to control their smart home. When someone in the home buys a new device, they just plug it in and it ‘just works’ with the rest of their connected devices, with their phone prompting them that a new Matter device or devices has been detected, and walk the person through the process of setting up the new device quickly and securely,” he said.

Other trends

Narcotta also cited other smart home trends to be on the lookout for in 2023. These are summarized as follows.
Vendor consolidation: This is closely related to Matter cited above. “As Matter unifies the market, smart home brands that do not have the ability, or interest, in ramping up their software and service development capabilities will disappear from the smart home landscape,” Narcotta said. “Consumers will still be spoiled for choice, though companies focused only on selling as many inexpensive, basic smart home devices as possible will disappear from the landscape.”
Services, not specifications: According to Narcotta, the specifications race is nearly over, as features such as facial recognition, advanced motion detection, presence sensing, and event-driven automation once reserved for premium cameras from Nest, Ring, and interactive security companies like ADT,, or Vivint are now available at more-affordable-than-ever price points. “In 2023, consumers will expect at minimum 2K video resolution and full color night vision – what they will prioritize on their purchasing journeys is how effectively their cameras and doorbells provide them with meaningful context about what is going on outside their home, not just simply that motion was detected,” he said.
Keep an eye on inflation: Even as it appears that inflation is abating in some economies, for the foreseeable future consumers will have less disposable income, Narcotta said, adding consumers in the U.S. will continue to drive the bulk of smart home market growth, though at a slower rate at which the market was originally forecasted to grow post-COVID.
Replacement cycles become the norm in the U.S.: According to Narcotta, with some smart home devices approaching saturation points, even behemoths like Amazon (Ring) and Google (Nest) will need to be mindful of how the selling cycle is changing. “Companies competing in the U.S. will need to create strategies that cater to enticing additional device purchases from their existing customer bases, as the pool of net new customers evaporates over the next few years. Companies competing in the US smart home market will need to be prepared to endure slower year-to-year revenue and unit shipment growth,” he said.
Finally, the supply chain issue that has affected a wide range of industries have had an impact on smart home as well, though to a less extent. “Many smart home companies work with just-in-time inventory strategies and as such have not typically had a backlog of devices sitting in warehouses waiting to be delivered to retailers, distributors, or consumers,” Narcotta said. “That said, prices have creeped up about 10 to 15 percent for most cameras and doorbells relative to pre-COVID levels as the supply for some components, especially SoCs that control AI-assisted vision for cameras and doorbells, are in high-demand across multiple industry sectors, especially automotive.”

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