In 1966, Westinghouse engineer Jim Sutherland created the ECHO IV, the first true home automation device that was capable of controlling a home’s temperature and turn appliances on and off, but which was never commercially sold.
- Nest Smart Thermostat – The Nest Learning Thermostat ($222), introduced in 2010, was a smart home game-changer. Nest opted to control its thermostat using internet Wi-Fi rather than AC power, like the X10 home automation platform introduced in 1975. As its name suggests, Nest also popularized the concept of learning from user activity in order to optimize thermostat settings. Google acquired Nest in January 2014 for $3.2 billion.
- Alexa – When Amazon launched its Amazon Echo speaker ($70) on Jun. 23, 2015, no one suspected that the nine-inch-tall (24 cm), voice-activated speaker would become such a big hit. While Amazon’s Alexa home assistant now boasts some 77,000 U.S. skills, application growth has leveled off, suggesting that few use the platform beyond turning lights on or off, or barking to their TV. Still, Amazon owns the world’s most dominant smart home platform, with everything from televisions to toothbrushes controllable through Alexa.
- Market dimensions – According to Statista, revenue in the U.S. smart home market is projected to reach $29 billion in 2021, which includes home automation, security, entertainment and ambient assisted living (AAL), with revenues reaching $47 billion by 2024. An earlier global market forecast is shown below:
A Lowe’s 2014 Smart Home Study found that 70% of consumers want to control something in their home from their mobile device without getting out of bed, a truly shocking finding! It should be equally unsurprising that, as long as there are lazy consumers, growth in the smart home market will continue unabated. 😁