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You might have heard the news of Amazon’s free ‘smart home consultation service’ that was recently launched in the US. Simply put, Amazon is offering a free in-home consultation from a trained expert to assist potential customers with choosing the right connected home products for their needs. Because of Amazon’s unique position in the market, I believe this could seriously drive the connected home market and give Amazon a leading position.
So why am I so impressed by what Amazon is doing? What allows them to offer free in-home consultations? And why are they so well placed to both drive and gain a large part of the connected home market? Here are five reasons behind my thinking:
More than just a big futuristic tech show, the CES is a perfect occasion to review where the connected home industry is at and what the market might look like in the next year or two. However, if you follow the connected home market like us, there was no major surprise in Vegas this year. The main takeaways from the event were the growth of the leading US service providers and the development of the retail market via cameras, thermostats, voice control and home automation. There are also some interesting trends in the market with additional user interfaces, the hype around connected door locks and the much cheaper products coming from China. Finally, we saw a few start-ups which developed solutions particularly interesting for the energy markets.
The leading US service providers are growing their customer base and adding more use cases to their portfolio
The connected home product catalogue is getting thicker as we speak, with announcements from every corner of Europe – especially from the IFA tradeshow in Berlin. O2 (Telefonica), Amazon Alexa & dash buttons, Homekit, Netatmo, Nest, Tado, Bosch, Sonos… These are some of the most exciting European (and US) connected home companies and all are trying to light the fuse! I’m curious to compare some of these products to our long list of energy / security ‘product profiles’ we are currently working on.
My take out of these is that more and more cool devices are coming the market from well-known connected home brands – that’s the good news. There is, however, very little happening in reducing the upfront cost barrier for non-early-adopter customers – and that’s a very concerning news.
Sunny days have come to Europe in the first weeks of spring, meaning sales of connected heating controls will start to slow down, as customers start to turn off their heating for the summer. This is a perfect time for industry stakeholders to take a step back, and consider the learnings they gathered over the winter… before the next one comes!
This next winter season might actually be the last chance for the European energy industry to establish itself in the connected home space, and to own part of the customer relationship. It is extremely likely that this market will soon be attacked by giant companies such as Amazon and Apple, and by large telcos and retailers entering similarly to how O2 and Dixons Carphone have started doing to do in the UK. These companies will most likely own the customer relationship if they succeed, and the energy players will have reduced market power if they try and work with these companies to play in the market.
Sue Furnell and I went to the CES in sunny Las Vegas, to explore the latest innovations of the global connected home market. Since there are dozens of good reviews about the event online (example links below this blog) we thought there was no reason to re-invent the wheel. Instead, we have endeavoured to make our review as relevant as possible for your businesses. Here are our takeaways:
The event itself is without a doubt the best event of the year to find out the latest connected home trends and innovations. I would recommend it to anyone looking at this space from any angle. We would be delighted to discuss this more in depth with you individually or to exchange views if you were there as well, so please feel free to get in touch, my email is [email protected]
I had the opportunity to present some highlights from our new Energy Storage Research Service last week at European Utility Week (EUW) in Vienna. For those that don’t know it, it’s a leading annual event focusing on the smart energy value chain.
EUW is an established event for smart grid and the connected home space, but clearly the new hot topic is energy storage. Here’s a few of the things I took away from my time in the energy storage stream of EUW:
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