Home automation may still be arguably a technical hobbyists plaything, but ABI Research argues that the drive to offer consumers self-installable devices and the service provider's entry into the market represents an even larger global market opportunity.
Various home automation and monitoring consoles and equipment. (Image source: ABI Research)
In its latest "Home Automation and Monitoring" study, ABI reports that while only 1.8 million home automation systems shipped in 2011 globally, they forecast that number will increase to over 12 million shipments by 2016.
Traditional ILECs and cable operators continue to step into the home automation game.
Verizon (NYSE: VZ), for one, has been quite active in the home automation game, launching its Home Monitoring and Control service based on Motorola Mobility's (NYSE: MMI) technology that it acquired from 4Home in January. Starting at $9.99, Verizon's home automation service enables consumers to remotely control in-home cameras, Z-Wave protocol-based lights, and door locks.
Customers that are interested in paying more for the service can get access to energy management applications, including automatic thermostats in addition to WiFi adapters that can control appliances (i.e. dishwashers and laundry machines) and lights, in addition to a sensor that is placed on the electrical circuit box to measure a home's total energy usage.
However, Verizon isn't the only service provider taking charge of the home automation market opportunity.
Canadian cable provider Rogers Communications (NYSE: RCI) followed Verizon with the launch of its Smart Home Monitoring System. Similar to the Verizon service, Rogers' Smart Home Monitoring service also enables residential users to manage everything from their security alarm systems to indoor lighting and appliances. Although the baseline package costs $40 per month, users have to pay the associated installation and connection fees.
Since it's a global opportunity, European service providers are also aggressive on the home automation front. France Telecom (NYSE: FTE) currently packages its home monitoring service with its broadband service on its Livebox gateway, while Telecom Italia (NYSE: TI) and Telstra are offering home monitoring services to their customer base.
- see the release
Rogers joins home monitoring market with Smart Home Monitoring service
Verizon unveiled a home monitoring service in January 2011
Verizon invested in 4Home in September 2010
Surewest launched its home security service in 2008
Cisco pulled its home energy console and shifted strategy