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The connected home party is getting started: what do the numbers tell us?

In my first blog of this series, I explored whether the connected home “party” is just hyped up for the industry or whether consumers are coming to the party too. 

In the second blog, I discussed the impact of social media on customer interest for connected homes.

In this third blog, I will give an overview of the energy offerings that are selling today and describe some of the players trying to get a piece of the party cake.

We recently published the first report of the Delta-ee Connected Home Research Service, the annual ‘State of the European Connected Home Market’. It analyses the role of key players, the types of offerings that the customer is currently buying and why some countries are getting traction while others are a step behind. For this study we consulted over 50 key stakeholders in the connected home sector.

Several offerings are gaining traction

While energy used to play a small role in the connected home, the number of offerings has quickly increased in the last few years. Our research highlights that some solutions start to be successful and that others show promising signs. Below is a summary of a few examples:

  • Remote heating control – replacing a traditional programmer with a new remote control system, is the leading European offering today with several hundred thousand installations reported in last winter. These products are accessible to a wide range of end-users (costs are rarely over €300), who start to understand the convenience brought to their daily life through heating apps.

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  • Time of use tariff optimisation – through connected controls – is getting a lot of interest, especially in Scandinavian countries where residential time-of-use tariffs are available. Heat pump manufacturers are starting to take advantage of this by integrating smarter controls which will pick up the tariffs in advance. The heat pump will then automatically establish a heating pattern that will be the most economical for the end-user without affecting the level of comfort. See the Delta-ee Heat Pump Research Service study on smart heat pumps for more info.
  • Microgeneration monitoring, optimisation and electricity storage is also a hot topic of the connected home covered in our research. Although this remains a niche market today, it is generating a lot of interest, particularly in the social housing sector. 

Diverse players are getting involved

Utilities, established heating appliance and control manufacturers, new connected home entrants, full home automation specialists, telcos and broadband companies, DIY retailers, big data and service companies… There is a long and growing list of players trying to go to the connected home party. Let’s have a look at a few of them:

  • Utilities like British Gas (UK), RWE (Germany), Eneco and Essent (Netherlands) are showing early signs of success with between 50,000 and 100,000 installations to date, either by partnering with an innovative start-up or by developing their own products.
  • Established heating control companies haven’t yet been successful in this space. Although this market is about customer experience and emotions behind acquiring connected home products, they mostly provide engineering driven solutions. We also discussed the issues involved with their typical route to market (see below)
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  • New connected home entrants are disrupting the market by offering simple and focused solutions aimed mainly at 1 or 2 countries and based on convenience, comfort and energy savings. Quby, Nest, Hive, Tado° are all shipping several thousand products per week, while others are also becoming popular in the energy geek community.

We looked at other types of solutions in this state of the market such as smart plugs, control of electric appliances, remote monitoring of boilers and more, all creating value for a variety players in the connected home chain. Although these are not triggering the same interest as remote heating controls for end-users, they will play an important role in our analysis when we provide the Connected Home forward view of the market later this year.

For more information on the Delta-ee Connected Home Research Service, please contact Arthur Jouannic, Service manager at arthur.jouannic@delta-ee.com.

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