Feature Smart Homes Read more online at www.securitymattersmagazine.com
Plenty has been written about life after COVID-19 and what this will mean for
our daily lives, the world of work, travel and specific sectors like the
entertainment industry. What changes, though, will the ‘new normal’ realise
when it comes to smart home security? Francesca Boeris investigates
ONCE UPON a time, control and
smart automation were reserved for
high-end homes: luxury residences
complete with a home theatre, access
control and intelligent lighting. Such
installations were the exception rather
than the rule. The pandemic has
changed all of that. Many more
homeowners have embraced the latest
technology to ensure the secure smart
home is within their reach, in turn
creating a sustainable opportunity for
the security sector.
Collectively, we’ve all spent more time
at home throughout the last 18 months.
That has been good news for suppliers
of smart products as homeowners have
evolved to embrace smart plugs, lamps
(ie light bulbs) and cameras alongside
the purchase of mini-speaker/
automation hubs like Amazon
Alexa or Google Home.
Combined with a smart phone, a
voice-activated Artificial Intelligence
(AI) assistant and the latest in visual
verification, consumers are using these
devices to initiate home automation.
They’re controlling their heating and
lighting and implementing a home
security set-up as well.
Focus on sustainability
Another trend that was once reserved
for a select few is the focus on
sustainability, usually overshadowed by
the cost of choosing more energy-efficient
products despite the lifestyle
benefits offered by smart homes (ie
convenience, aesthetics and prestige).
Things look a little different in 2021,
with climate control and environmental
concerns front of mind for many
consumers. While more likely to
incorporate climate control in their
homes, post-COVID homeowners are
equally keen to ensure they’re being
Consumers are now as interested in
where the power they use comes from as
they are in how much they’re using.
We’re encouraged to believe that small
and positive changes can make a
significant difference. This new attitude
is driving expectation around
monitoring and reporting from smart
home systems. Energy consumption can
now be tracked and reported.
There are mainstream benefits to the
smart home now being recognised.
Arguably, extended periods of lockdown
proved challenging as our homes
became the epicentre of our pandemic
protection and extended lockdown
existence. Many of us were obliged to
use – and share – the same space for
work, home schooling, healthcare, rest
All of this has heightened the desire
for smart home technology, but also the
requirement for reliable connectivity.
For the home security and
automation industry, this is proving to
be a positive opportunity. As consumers
learn to trust and rely upon devices and
assistants, and venture into the
automation space with at least entry-level
products, so the market potential
has grown and travelled well beyond the
reach of the early adopters.
We know that ‘nice to have’ eventually
becomes ‘cannot live without’.
Consumers now seek the solutions that
offer the best alternative for their
particular set of concerns, duly realising
convenience, connectivity and security
alongside the reassurance of
As the smart homes market matures,
solution providers are making
integration easier for installers to
achieve. Choices around smart home
solutions and associated security
products are now driven by the make of
the phone owned along with the voice
assistant and ecosystem to which
homeowners are accustomed or are
otherwise willing to adopt.
It’s down to security solution
providers to complement this choice and
enable homeowners to benefit from the
functionality available as the latter desire
a connected set-up across their home.
AI-powered virtual assistants are at
the core of these product integrations.
Their increasing capability will begin to
rival the scene-setting functionality
offered by more mature automation
solutions. This is a powerful opportunity
for the security market wherein multiple
Artificial Intelligence-powered virtual assistants are at the core
of these product integrations. Their increasing capability will
begin to rival the scene-setting functionality offered by more
mature automation solutions