End of the summer fireworks in the connected home market

Published: Mon 05 Sep 2016
A blog entry by Arthur Jouannic

Contributed by:

Arthur Jouannic
Principal Analyst
Delta Energy & Environment

Arthur Jouannic's Blog

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.

Delta-ee and others have demonstrated over the years that, for the market to grow as predicted, large service companies will need to understand the long term values and will have to find ways to subsidise these products. John Lewis is having a first go at this but this is one of the very few exceptions today.

CH Blog Sept16

Here is a summary and some views on what these companies are doing:

  • Netatmo has announced its connected TRVs, which are now available for pre-order. While online rumours put the price at the higher end of the connected TRV spectrum (€50-€80), the device does look nice and is in line with the Tado and Plugwise designs that may revolutionise a wealthy industry of ‘traditional TRVs’. A little plus from Netatmo will come from the choices of adhesive strip colour. Additionally Netatmo is now Homekit Compatible. (Netatmo TRVs).
  • The industry has known for a year that Tado would release its TRVs at the end of 2016. What’s new is that Tado will also be Homekit and Amazon Echo compatible. This hints the upcoming long awaited release of the Alexa technology from Amazon in Europe. (Tado)
  • Talking about Amazon, its Dash buttons are now available to order in the UK.
  • Sonos has also announced to have all its speakers now Alexa compatible – so that customers can control their (higher quality) Sonos speakers by voice, by talking to the Echo speaker and Echo dots. If it was needed, this shows again that Amazon doesn’t want to be a speaker specialist but rather the voice of the home! (Sonos and Alexa)
  • Nest Protect used to be available through insurance companies in the US such a Liberty Mutual. It is now also going this route in the UK with a discounted price of £89 for customers who sign up to the John Lewis Home Insurance. So we are starting to see some insurance companies who can justify subsidising the products on the back of many values that they can generate (customer acquisition, reduced risk etc.) (John Lewis and Nest)
  • There have also been some news about Nest this week on the Internet. Alphabet has decided to take dozens of Nest developers to Google to work on its own smart home and specifically on the Google Home device. Reporters are saying that this is another sign that Google wants to make Android the OS of the home. (Nest and Alphabet)
  •  O2 is finally launching the AT&T platform in the UK, which is the most notable telco move in the connected home, so far in the country. (O2 smart home launch) Packages are on the ‘rather expensive’ side of the connected home spectrum and will be as follows:
    • Home Comfort for £30/month – which includes a smart thermostat (Tado), 2 smart plugs and a presence sensor.
    • The Home view for £30/month – which is more security / peace of mind focused. Products include 2 cameras, a door/window sensor and a presence sensor.
    • The Home Connect for £20/month – which has 2 smart plugs, 2 door/window sensors and 2 presence sensors.
  • Bosch released 3 new connected home products at the IFA tradeshow, including 2 cameras (indoor and outdoor) and an air quality / smoke detector. Prices haven’t been released yet. In my view, the indoor camera is a nicely designed device with a lot of cool features like the 360 degree video, the ‘tap on the top’ to bring the camera down into the cylinder for a privacy mode and an integrated speaker. (New Bosch products)
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We don’t expect these to be the only announcements of September though. A lot is probably going on behind the scene as I write this article. We will keep you updated! Contact me at arthur.jouannic@delta-ee.com or visit www.delta-ee.com for more information.