CES 2018 is now behind us and after last year’s breakout performance from Amazon and Alexa, it’s no surprise that this year’s event featured many ‘smart’ devices. In fact, CNET’s summary captures this point very well. “CES 2018 seemed to mark the beginning of the end of "dumb" household products, with everything from light switches to faucets to mirrors and (yes, really) toilets getting some sort of AI upgrade.”
But that got me thinking. just how many devices does it take to make a home truly smart? One, two, five, more? To answer the question, I examined two households I know very well. First, I examined my mothers household. She has a smart TV, various Wi-Fi enabled devices, and a very recently installed Amazon Echo (thanks to her son). Prior to the Amazon installation, she probably didn’t even realize her TV was considered a ‘smart’ device. But now, through the use of her voice, her home is suddenly getter smarter.
In my own home, I too have a smart TV. I’ve dabbled with smart light bulbs, switches, and door locks. I too have an Amazon Echo – only one year ahead of my mother’s installation. Does that make my home smarter? Of course not. But incredibly, one year ago I started with the same list of smart devices as my mother – one TV and one Echo. In my home, the addition of the smart speaker triggered what will be a multi-year endeavor to make my home ‘smart’.
Of course, Alexa control is not necessarily required to make a home smart. But the combination of control, connectivity, and ease of use seemed to accelerate the learning curve of my smart home and I suspect it will do the same for my mother’s.
Forrester research projects that 66 million US homes will have a smart speaker by 2022. That’s about a 3x increase from where the market sits today. What will this mean to the service provider community? How will service providers generate revenue and brand share in the smart home market? We, of course, have an opinion. Over the next few months, we’ll share much more about exciting new options that will enable service providers to take their rightful place in the smart home of the future. In the meantime, check out our mesh-enhanced carrier class Wi-Fi solution.