Skip to Content

Smarter Choices, Smarter Homes

Smarter Choices, Smarter Homes

Smart home devices have become commonplace in the residential landscape for the better part of a decade now.

Streaming devices, TVs, appliances, thermostats, and of course, security devices such as Wi-fi cameras, video doorbells and door locks are all considered to be “smart” in the sense that they can be controlled to perform tasks around the house that offer convenience, peace of mind and cost savings to homeowners.

To offer a clearer picture of the current smart home device landscape, and a look into future trends in the area of smart home technology, the Z-Wave Alliance, a standards development organization dedicated to advancing smart home and Z-Wave technology, recently released its third annual Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report. The findings were collected from a survey of 1,500 U.S.-based owners of smart home devices.

After reading this comprehensive report, I had a chance to speak with Mitch Klein, Executive Director, Z-Wave Alliance, to talk about the findings and what it means for the smart home technology market going forward.

When I asked Mitch what his goals were when compiling the Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report, he noted the importance of providing the current state of the smart home technology marketplace.

“One of the most common questions that I’ve gotten in the past 30 years about smart home is ‘How big is it?’” he explained. “What we opted to do was to at least our members know where we are, what their opportunities are, what’s hot, where do we see things going, which then tells our members, ‘These are the kinds of things you should be investing in or building.’”

The first two editions of the Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem were published reports, but Mitch pointed out that the data that Z-Wave was really trying to get was “not necessarily available” in pre-written reports. As a result, the company set aside a budget for a private study that would provide more detailed information for its members.

“This is a pretty good report. We’re very pleased,” he said. “Obviously, we’ll continue down this pathway, as opposed to just using publicly available data.”

Now, on to the report’s findings. One thing that struck me in the report was that smart security and home control systems owners exhibit a strong appetite to add on devices, with 90 percent of smart security system owners adding devices.

Mitch explained why there is such a demand for homeowners to add on to their smart home security systems.

“It’s really driven by the marketplace,” he noted. “When we look at almost the last two years of basically working remotely, things like security have been top of mind. There’s been a lot more of promotion of things like cameras, doorbells, sensors, things like that have become much more available, and there’s a greater awareness of it.”

The report pointed out that among the top-rated devices that homeowners are looking to add to their smart security systems are Wi-Fi networked cameras, smart door locks, and smart video doorbells.

Mitch pointed out what this says about the buying patterns of homeowners when it comes to the devices they’re interested in adding.

“It’s got to be about awareness,” he said. “In the last 20 years, security simply meant perimeter and burglar-type alarms. The commercial side of the business put a high priority on the security cameras in surveillance. With the price points dropping, that’s a key right there. You’ve gone from several hundred dollars and requiring power and pulling a coaxial cable, to sticking things up with double-sided tape having a rechargeable/replaceable battery and streaming Wi-Fi. The major barriers to those types of purchases are no longer barriers. It’s just become more accessible from a price and availability perspective.”

When I asked Mitch about which smart home technology trends surprised him the most in the report, he pointed out what he called his “a-ha” moment – the fact that DIY has become a dominant means of installation for seven of the top 15 devices highlighted in the report, including smart security systems, Wi-Fi cameras, video doorbells and door locks.

“Why is it?” he asked. “The simple answer is it’s been promoted like crazy. Ring has done a pretty good job. Let’s put it this way – when you log on to Amazon’s landing page, they’re going to flash you some products. When you’re looking at 400,000-plus unique visits every day, getting a message out saying home security is accessible and available now, that’s going to help.”

Lower price points for burglar alarms, as well as ease of installation, have also led to more homeowners going the DIY route, according to Mitch.

“A lot of the barriers to the DIY side have been addressed,” he said. “To me, that makes a whole lot of sense.”

After speaking with Mitch, it became quite apparent that making smarter choices when it comes to selecting the right smart home devices will lead to greater peace of mind, and of course, a greater sense of security. 

To download the full Z-Wave State of the Ecosystem Report, please click here.


To comment on this post, please log in to your account or set up an account now.