Smart Connected Home Appliances More in Demand Than We Realize

Smart Connected Home Appliances More in Demand Than We RealizeAccording to new projections from Juniper Research, the installed base of connected appliances in “Smart Homes” will surpass the 10 million mark by 2017.

That’s an impressive jump from 4 million at the end of 2013.

Juniper’s new report – Smart Home Ecosystems & the Internet of Things – found that consumer awareness of connected appliances, such as smart fridges and washing machines was gradually increasing, but that such devices are not widely considered to represent attractive purchases.

Still, smart appliances remain a niche item, given high retail prices, poor use cases and security concerns. While the technology to leverage IoT (Internet of Things) devices is already available, no service provider has yet made a system for intelligent automation available to consumers.

Other key findings of the report reveal that deploying Smart Home services in the cloud will reduce the need for expensive Smart Home device processors, and allow these devices to benefit from the power of Big Data. Additionally, service providers should encourage a user community to help diversify Smart Home application possibilities to cater for individual needs.

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A use case with real and immediate returns may likely be adding modest battery operation, not just for power outages but in North America for allowing appliance OEMs to jump ahead of the still volatile and unproven residential energy storage technology players. The first large appliance manufacturer to add a 1-2 hour li-ion capable dock tied to existing or new communication capability will suddenly be at the forefront of the very real and quickly growing "residential demand response" market.

Adding the battery ability directly inside the refrigerator or washer/dryer or AC unit completely bypasses the infrastructure challenges faced by other high tech home energy storage parties.

Adding it as a dock means a very low added factory cost and the ability to take utility/government subsidies for populating the battery downstream.

Tech firms here in Silicon Valley are hungrily nibbling around the edges of this idea but a Samsung or Whirlpool can steal the thunder, whichever acts first will have a big new and actually valuable smart appliance market at their fingertips.