What’s the purpose of home automation?
Its aim is to provide a better living environment, through improved comfort and convenience, and better security for the home.
What is home automation?
It has motion sensors, door opening sensors, etc., to monitor the activity in the home, and other sensors to monitor the environment; temperature, humidity, etc. No more having to tap the barometer!
It also has a collection controllable devices, heating, individual lights, individual mains power outlets, etc., through which the home environment can be controlled.
These sensors and control devices are interconnected by some form of wireless network within the home, of which there are several. The most common are known as ZigBee and Z-Wave. They are not compatible, but reasonably wide ranges of sensors and control devices are available for both.
The sensors and control devices are linked via the wireless network to a small controller, or hub, also within the house, which controls the operation of all of the sensors and control devices. As a very simply example, the light in a room might be switched on automatically when any motion is detected in the room.
How is home automation used?
The sensors and control devices are set up and managed with the ubiquitous mobile app, which is connected via the internet to the hub in the home. For example, the user can set up a schedule for the central heating, or specify the light that is switched on when a particular door opens, and much more besides. The mobile app also shows the user the current home environment, temperature, etc., as well as the various settings.
How many people have home automation?
As in so many other ways, the adoption of home automation in the USA is an indicator of its future in the UK. Revenue in the USA in the current year (2017) is $4.6B, with 15% of households using the technology, and with each spending an average of $260.00. Both the revenue and the number of automated households in the USA are forecast to double by 2021.
Figures are less readily available for the UK. The amount being spent per household is likely to be similar to that in the USA. Apart from its use for the control of heating, which was pioneered by British Gas, now a separate company, Hive, within Centrica, very few UK households are using the technology.
The growth in the use of the technology in the UK can be expected to follow that in the USA, but at a slower rate. There are also far fewer households in the UK, about 20M against 125M. On this basis, the revenue in the UK from home automation is likely to be in the £1B to £1.5B by 2021.
Following the trend being set in the USA, and again being led by Hive, monthly rentals are being offered, instead of outright purchase. This may encourage a faster uptake of the technology.