WDYT? Research says DIY is the wave of the smart home future

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Remote home control

We did an article a few months ago on the smart home of the future and what that will look like for consumers in which we discussed the pros and cons of both the traditional home automation installation companies, like AMX, Crestron, Control 4, and others, and the new do-it-yourself breed of home automation products that you might find in say, a Home Depot that you can install yourself.

ABI Research’s Smart Home Market Research division says that  DIY home automation devices will be the top choice in the smart home future in a new report out today. The firm says that these devices will grow at a close to 30%  between 2013 and 2019, but that their impact will extend beyond individual device sales.

The company says that while there have always been home automation enthusiasts with both the ability and zeal to do a home automation installation themselves, devices like Nest’s Smart thermostats and Dropcam’s streaming video cameras are bringing simple-to-install, smart–home-DIY to a wider audience.

The popularity of these devices, that can be accessed and controlled by smartphone apps as well as the web, helps spawn wider evolution in the home automation market. “Single application, connected smart home devices will not only drive connectivity into a wealth of everyday home appliances from air conditioning units to coffee machines, they will also provide a new battleground for new and existing smart home automation players,” says Jonathan Collins, principal analyst at ABI Research. “Existing players and start-ups alike are preparing their strategies to leverage the popularity of these devices into their own holistic smart home automation plays.”

Like we’ve been preaching, the key will be for companies to envelope disparate devices into one platform. This is something that traditional home automation companies have long been accomplishing, albeit with professional programming and/or installation. Companies like Revolv and WigWag make it their mission to accomplish this on the DIY front. They basically pull in multiple apps into their own app to create a cohesive control system and user interface.

While there will always be a place in the mid- to high-end home for installation-based companies like AMX, Control 4, Crestron, Elan and Savant, we expect to see some of these companies adjust their plans to cater more to the mainstream. Savant, for one, made waves a couple of months ago by announcing sub-$1000/room automation and by hiring the former Barnes & Noble CEO, William Lynch. While $1K  is still pricey to the DIY crowd, for the “home automation” install arena, it’s cheap.

So we’re curious. What do you think? How much are you willing to spend per room on home automation? And on what? Security? Lighting control? Thermostat? Respond in the comments section below and we will publish the results, provided we get a good showing! 

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  • Peter Frumkerino

    I am in the process of building a home. We will be breaking ground in September/October. I will probably be wiring early next year. I was considering control4. I want to control audio, video, cameras, HVAC, lights, locks, shades, etc. I would love to DYI, but I don’t think that the DYI market is mature enough to control all those devices yet. My concern is that I become a slave to the Control4 system and its dealer for the future. Any thoughts?

  • Gerard

    Correct, Smart 2.0 is not full proof yet, but Smart Home 3.0 is getting close, which will make the Revolv and Smartthings of the world more robust. With a new house wiring is always #1. Check out for some insight.
    Gerard – aka Smart Home Rock God…

  • Krissy Rushing

    Just like there is AppleTV and Kaleidescape, I think there will always be a place for the higher end and DIY types of products, and so do the manufacturers. While I can’t speak for them, I can say that if DIY products become the exception rather than the rule, higher-end custom install manufacturers will probably continue to update their software to make it easier for the homeowner to make his or her own adjustments post-install. In fact, some of them are doing this now. With tablets and phones as user interfaces, this becomes even more important as users expect the ability to customize.