Home controls and the Trojan Horse

by Stuart Sikes | Apr. 20, 2010

Throughout its 24 years of history, Parks Associates has been grappling with the question of when and how home control systems will become mainstream.

Home systems analyst Bill Ablondi, in Parks Associates’ most recent report, Home Systems: Home Controls-- Analysis and Forecasts flips the question. Ablondi and colleague Farhan Abid say that the current value propositions for consumers to purchase control systems are not sufficient to appeal to mass markets. Either the systems are too expensive for a cost conscious home buyer, are too complicated to install, or though appealing, don’t sufficiently wow a mainstream home owner into a purchase decision. The path to adoption, therefore, is for control systems companies to get their technology installed in the systems that we are already buying for our homes. If control companies will partner with systems companies such as Trane, Honeywell, GE, Sony, Whirlpool, Logitech and others in order to incorporate their technologies into TVs, refrigerators, remote controls, thermostats and other established systems, then the consumer can simply enable the control application that, like a welcomed Trojan Horse, has already entered the home.

If a consumer could download a smartphone app or TV widget to enable the control capabilities built into home systems, they would suddenly discover the value proposition first-hand and potentially provide control systems vendors with the holy grail of revenue models – a monthly subscription fee.

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