Smart home technology is anything but new. As far back as the 1930s, visionary inventors spoke of home automation technologies following the dramatic rise in access to electricity and home appliances (washers, refrigerators, dishwashers, and water heaters).
Some would even argue the smart home concept started with the invention of the remote control, unveiled by renowned Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla Nikola in 1898, which he unveiled at Madison Square Garden in New York City.
In 1966 the ECHO IV (Electronic Computing Home Operator, or Electronic Computer for Home Operation) was introduced as a prototype of a home computer developed by Westinghouse Electric engineer James (Jim) Sutherland. It was the first smart automation system and allowed consumers to create computing shopping lists, control the temperature of the home and turn appliances on and off. Created in 1969, the kitchen computer could develop recipes, but the device never became a commercial success due to its price – and size.
The microcontroller in 1971 dropped prices for consumer electronics, well before the Consumer Electronics Show became one of the biggest tech gatherings in the world each year.
In the 1990s, the futuristic concept (at that time) called “gerontechnology” combined gerontology with technology to make the lives of senior citizens easier.
But Smart Homes didn’t really take off until the turn of the century, with mass adoption, mass production, and “silicon economics” that made home automation and devices far more accessible. At the same time, the growth of the Internet, mobile, cloud, and smartphones were exploding, and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) started to see the opportunity as the routers, set-top boxes, and other equipment became the norm, rather than the exception in millions of homes.
Today, with an endless variety of consumer electronics sold by big box stores, eCommerce, telecom, and other categories of service providers, smart home automation is ubiquitous and crosses many categories, including lighting and HVAC control, door locks, and alarms, cameras, connected appliances and more.
The addition of voice-activated and controlled assistants like the wildly popular Amazon Alexa added fuel to the fire. A new focus on climate change made benefits including energy and water conservation common-sense reasons to add more and more services in homes, including remote access by home-owners using mobile apps from anywhere in the world they can find an Internet connection.
According to Transparency Research, the global smart home as a service market is forecast to reach US$10.9 billion by the end of 2025, up from the market’s valuation in 2016 at US$2.46 billion, delivering an impressive CAGR of 18.1% between 2017 and 2025. According to some analysts, part of this growth represents a “mega-trend,” and that is the simplification of Smart Home technology for end-users, based on a Managed Services approach.
“The demand within the global smart home as a service market is set to increase in the years to follow, Transparency Research said. “Advancements in the energy sector have boded well for the growth of this market. The development of urban centers across all major regions of the world has played a crucial part in popularizing smart homes. The utility and ease offered by the components of smart homes have further caused an uptick in demand across the global market. Several people have become sensitive towards their energy consumption patterns, prompting them to install smart and energy-efficient technologies in their households. In light of these factors, it is safe to predict that the global smart home as a service market would grow at a stupendous pace.”
Last month, Veea, a leader in edge computing with a rich heritage in connectivity from CDMA to Wi-Fi, announced they are rolling out a turnkey Software as a Service (SHaaS) enabling Managed Service Providers (MSPs) “featuring the Veea STAX™ Smart Hub with Wi-Fi 6 mesh router technology and application server, IoT connectivity with included radios for Zigbee, Bluetooth, and Thread, support for new industry smart home standard Matter, 4G Gigabit LTE or 5G network connection, an intuitive control app with voice support, integration with leading smart home accessories, robust platform security, and built-in remote support,” according to the company.
“This all-in-one leading-edge product is being offered to Managed Service Providers (MSPs) as a white label solution that can rapidly be brought to market and will soon be available to consumers and small and medium businesses needing automation,” stated the company’s press release. “MSPs can now offer their customers who haven’t yet taken that next step, and for those who simply want a much better experience, a comprehensive range of options to their customers to choose from for networking, management, and automation of Smart Spaces along with their data services. MSPs can deliver all this functionality with Zero-Touch Installation (ZTI), truly as a “Drop & Play,” for an individual unit or in bulk for thousands of units shipped to their customers in mixed network environments.”
Allen Salmasi, chairman and CEO of Veea, sees excelling at customer experience and deepening customer relationships as a major driver. “With its unique design, breadth of capabilities, and price-performance, and when combined with our Smart Home As A Service offering, this first-of-a-kind bundle delivers on the promise of a turnkey smart home experience for consumers while providing Managed Service Providers a highly sought-after value-added service that will boost subscriber loyalty and retention.”
Edited by Luke Bellos