label has turned the famously intelligent thermostat into a
high-value home-automation platform.
Revenues are expected to start growing quickly, according
to the CEA. The group expects final 2014 wholesale figures
for smart home products to hit $2.6 billion, and the category is
anticipated to grow to at least $10 billion by 2018, year over year,
according to Chris Ely, the CEA’s senior manager for industry
analysis. Research cosponsored by the CEA and Parks Associates recently showed 20 percent of U.S. homes with broadband
Internet connections were expected to purchase one or more
smart-home devices in the next year, and 13 percent of broadband households already own one or more of the products.
With 80 percent of U.S. households now boasting a broadband
connection, those percentages could add up to serious money.
Even though wireless devices are garnering much of the
attention, the interest in connected products is only increasing the market for structured wiring.
“Structured wiring and monitored security are the most
commonly installed technology at 70 percent of new construction,” Ely said, citing figures from the CEA’s annual
survey of homebuilders.
Some 47 percent of new homes feature wired security systems, and 30 percent include a dedicated
home theater space. With the population aging
and emphasis on health concerns, 35 percent
of builders say they are likely to offer health
monitoring and support technologies in the
next two years.
Ely said the CEA sees three major trends
driving new-product adoption and features:
• Digitization of physical spaces—
this relates to the addition of sensors to everything from lamps to
• Internet of me—there is an
increasing use of algorithms to use
our actions and device preferences
to anticipate future actions and purchasing decisions (e.g.,
the way ads on a website might feature products you have
recently browsed online).
• Fragmented innovation—instead of focusing on a few
large product categories, such as smartphones or HDTVs,
as they have in the past, today’s tech-product developers
are casting their nets much more widely.
Lighting-controls manufacturer Leviton took a leap into
the smart home market in 2012 with its purchase of Home
Automation Inc. It further expanded its presence last year by
acquiring Bit Wise Controls and ClickOn Technology. Though
the company has offered its own centralized control products
for years, it has been more of a niche market until recently. Greg
Rhoades, Leviton’s marketing director for security and automation, said he started selling in the home-automation category
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