Connected home trend skyrockets. Smart home sensors lead the way

Sections: Appliances, Features, Green Home Tech, Internet of Things, Smart Home

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Nest Protect (shown here in both black and white) and Nest Thermostat are partially responsible for the popularization of smart home devices. But it’s dual-purpose smart home sensors that are leading the way into consumers’ homes.


If you are still uncertain as to whether or not the smart home trend is fact or fad, worry no more–research announced today suggests the later. ABI Research’s Smart Home Research Service said that by 2018, more than half-a-billion wireless smart home monitoring devices will be used in homes around the world. Last year, sales of wireless smart home monitoring devices, including smart home sensors (contact and motion), smart thermostats and smart plugs, grew to 17.23 million. That almost twice as much as 2012.

Smart Home Sensors Lead the Way

Leading the charge are smart home sensors, like motion and contact sensors. 84 million contact and motion sensors will ship by 2018, according to the study. ABI attributes the popularity of smart home sensors to the fact that they can not only be used for security, but for energy savings as well.

For example, use a motion/occupancy sensor to turn on the flood light as someone walks by your house, à la Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible, or in a bathroom to detect when your toddler has left the room (and forgotten to turn off the light). Likewise, contact sensors can tell you if someone has breached the sanctity of your home, or if you left a window open and are refrigerating the entire neighborhood.

Aside from smart home sensors, the biggest growth is expected to be in smart plugs (like Belkin’s WeMo), smart thermostats (like those from Nest and Honeywell), smart door locks (Kwikset, Yale), and connected smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (Nest Protect). More and more manufacturers are adding wireless connectivity to their home offerings, bringing network connectivity and remote management to the feature mix.


Lutron was doing occupancy sensors, before occupancy sensors were cool. The Maestro occupancy sensory helps save money by shutting off lights when you leave the room.


The study also delineates how different wireless technologies are, and will be, used in the smart home market. For example, WiFi in home-area networks makes it easy to set up smart devices on a network without any additional gateways or bridges, but power demands will push adoption into appliances and devices with a fixed power supply. ZigBee and Z-wave are great for low-powered smart devices, like wireless door locks, which can be battery operated. Meanwhile, Bluetooth Smart support in mobile devices will drive adoption in the home, as well. However, the study says that, for now, it’s proprietary technology that is dominating the market.

Despite all the various devices, wireless technologies, and the undeniable need for smart home standardization, one thing is clear: The smart home is here, it’s growing, and it’s going to continue to do so.


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