The smart home: Taking a collaborative approach

Bosch Security Systems and Greenpeak Technologies announced they joined forces to provide Multi-Service Operators (MSOs).


IMS Research (acquired by IHS, Inc.)Bosch Security Systems and Greenpeak Technologies announced that they had joined forces to provide Multi-Service Operators (MSOs) with a complete end-to-end security solution that could be neatly integrated into their current media offerings.  When I first heard about the Bosch-Greenpeak partnership, it confirmed for me that managed home services are not just a phase.  The potential for mass market home automation has been bubbling under the surface for a decade or so, and I believe we are just witnessing the beginning of the new era.

In 2010, IMS Research conducted a consumer survey for ‘smart home’ services, discovering that over 60% of consumers who want such systems in the US and UK would choose a home automation service based on the familiarity of the provider.  There’s no question then that existing service providers, such as cable, telephone and home security providers are well-placed to take advantage of this.  It would be interesting to see how this figure has changed since such partnerships have enabled a number of the largest MSOs to increase their subscription packages to include home automation services. Indeed, IMS Research is now running a similar survey to investigate this trend two years on, expanding the regions to include emerging markets such as Brazil and China as well as the US, UK and Germany.

Since 2010, home management systems have been launched by a range of service providers: Verizon implemented their connected home services this year, focusing primarily on remote control of energy management systems; Comcast followed suit in May of this year, extending their Xfinity service to include home security with integrated monitoring; and AT&T’s Digital Life platform is currently in its trial phase in Dallas and Atlanta.  ADT has also introduced its ADT Pulse offering in the US, expanding on the Select range previously used in the commercial sector.  The US may be ahead of the game, but many EU service operators are following closely behind: Orange, Swisscom and Deutsche Telekom are all planning new ventures into “fifth-play” in the next few months, either directly or as part of ‘white-label’ approaches.  Indeed, Greenpeak Technologies seem to be targeting this market closely: in addition to the partnership announcement, Greenpeak have also launched their first dual-protocol Zigbee solution (enabling Zigbee RF4CE and Zigbee Pro) for use in set-top-boxes; the integration of home automation services in the set-top box may enable an easier transition for service providers into the home automation market. 

MSOs’ integration of managed home services into more traditional communications and media offerings is paving the way for the next era of home automation for the mass market; the smart home market is increasingly defined by the collaborative approaches of companies from across the supply chain, and will be instrumental in driving this market forward over the next five years.

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