SMART THERMOSTATS begat video doorbells as smart lights begat smart appliances begat a wide range of smart devices. Vendors claim many new sensors are DIY projects, but monitoring, securing, and analyzing data from smart sensors implies a need for professional services and an emerging market opportunity for channel pros.
To date, one obstacle to market adoption of smart sensors has been privacy concerns. “Consumer trust is a big hurdle when it comes to greater adoption of smart home technology,” particularly placing sensors in their more private spaces, says Jeff Bales, vice president of sales at Pepper, owner of the Notion product line.
Lack of standardization has been another hurdle, but “the Matter standard is a major step, and we expect it to drive application and service provider engagement tremendously,” says Jonathan Collins, smart home and buildings research director for ABI Research.
Vendors have also struggled to market simple consumer use cases that are readily understood by homeowners. However, Bales says, “Insurers are increasingly realizing the benefits of leveraging smart home tech to transform their industry, and many are offering smart home devices for free or heavily discounted in addition to discounts on their premiums.”
A major focus of sensors today is monitoring events that damage homes and apartments. “This includes things like water leaks, mold growth, fires, and other major perils,” Bales says.
Homeowners can also use motion sensors for security or, when integrated with HVAC systems, to modify climate settings when no one is home. Even better, motion and contact sensors can track resident movements for Aging in Place (AIP) applications, with minimal privacy intrusion. “Motion and contact sensors ship in the tens of millions each year, leading most sensor types,” says Collins.
Some newer categories are also emerging, such as noise monitors to serve the short-term rental market.
Many sensors can be set up by owners in 15 minutes or less, says Bales, and Notion includes an app to customize their system.
DIY security systems such as those from SimpliSafe eliminate professional installers but the provider charges for remote monitoring. Multiple security monitoring services and MSPs now offer monthly support for computers and networking components in the home. Whether devices are DIY or professionally installed, the trend toward residential subscription services continues to increase, according to Collins. This a model channel pros are familiar with.