Last Wednesday evening, July 30th, Prime and The French Tech Hub hosted an event organized by the Hive about the home of the future. The Hive incubates, funds and launches businesses that develop Big data and IoT solutions. The event featured a panel consisting of Reza Raji, Moe Tanabian, Shane Dyer, and moderated by Gerry Tierney.
From left to right:
- Shane Dyer, CEO at Arrayent
- Reza Raji, Founder at iControl Networks and Internet of Things Pioneer
- Moe Tanabian, Senior Director, Head of Smart Things IoT Innovation Lab at Samsung Electronics
- Gerry Tierney, Associate Principal at Perkins Will
What is a smart device?
The event kicked off with Moe explaining the distinction between smart and connected homes. All smart homes are connected, but not all connected homes are smart. Most connected devices are dedicated to one single usage and do not communicate with each other. Smart devices are the next generation of devices, the ones that truly offer value. They are no longer just gadgets, they are now solving real issues for the consumers. Shane pointed to apps that can alleviate basement flooding or indicate that the garage door was left open. In addition, smart devices will create a seamless experience for the user.
What is the most attractive segment for smart devices?
Moe described the most active segment of the smart home market as tech enthusiasts (30%), who keep their home up to date and spend good money on their homes. What follows is what he called “impressers,” or those who like to show off their home. These represent the two segments driving the smart home industry, according to Moe.
Reza pointed to the elderly and health monitoring as a big market to tap, with energy management just behind.
Shane does not want to segment the smart home market, as it is still an emerging market. Only when companies will develop devices with a lot of features will we begin to segment.
How do consumers value privacy?
Privacy in the home was a big and dividing question discussed at the event. For Samsung’s head of IoT, consumers care about privacy, but they are willing to trade off their privacy for insights and value.
This is true with computers and smartphones, but we shall not confuse the latter with smart devices. The type of information collected and broadcast is not the same. As Shane put it : “It’s cool to have cameras keeping an eye on my house when I’m away, but do I want them recording when I am home?”
The prospect of creating a proxy of some sort, where one can choose what data gets out, raises questions with everyone having to thus agree to go through a proxy. This can become a niche area if it develops.
There is hope for the future of smart devices and great seamless user experiences. Nest is an example of what is looming on the horizon. Nest is not an anomaly, Nest is a four-factor success: great software, hardware, UI & machine learning. More and more companies should develop this combination of factors. They must, it is the only way to turn the smart device market and appeal it to the mass market. Connectivity done correctly has the ability to make things easier. That is the real value of the smart home.