Could the smart home sector eclipse the traditional computing market? Dave Ward, Dixons Carphone’s head of new technology, innovation and the connected home, predicts where the category will be in the next five years.
As devices become more connected, the whole of the model can change in terms of how you sell things.
Will business models evolve where people come round to do maintenance on smart home products? Of course they will. Will it be for everybody? No. But there will be different services for different people. You’ll get to the point in smart home where there will be niche services that we will develop over time.
Other markets will evolve as the smart home grows. Think about the monitored alarm market in the UK, traditionally this is a very expensive market.
Products need to be NSI approved, they need Redcare phone lines, and they need to have double-tap. It’s expensive, but that will evolve.
While smart home cameras don’t yet have these requirements, they will over time. At the moment I can wander around a million different protocols and standards, but eventually the government will regulate that.
There’s a push for more central control of security software. So we’re seeing security vendors starting to put software on hubs in general – for example outside the smart home, you can now get routers with security built-in. That’s key. I think there’s a part for vendors to play outside of those hubs, like what happens in the cloud.
You’ll start to see partnerships in different places – such as antivirus vendors protecting the smart home, and you’ll see governments regulate in terms of introducing standards to adhere to.
We see the smart home exploding at some point in the future. It’s going to hit a lot of people like a meteorite. When this hits, it will transform businesses very, very quickly.
What we see in the smart home market is very similar to wearables. During the last quarter alone (up to the end of April) we’ve seen a fourfold increase in sales of smart home products. The size of the market is incredible.
In time [the smart home market could eclipse the computing market]. Some of the local PC retailers will evolve to accommodate this, others won’t, but there’s going to be clearly defined markets. The smart home market and the computing market will be a separate thing.
At the moment the smart home is an emerging category which is being treated on its own. In the next five years, connected products will be the norm.