Analyst Insights from CONNECTIONS 2019

by Parks Associates | May. 31, 2019

From May 21-23, over 600 executives from around the country (and world) gathered in San Francisco for the 23rd-annual Parks Associates CONNECTIONS™ conference. The executive research conference included presentations from Parks Associates' leading analysts and visionary sessions featuring executives in the connected entertainment and digital home technology industries.

Having reflected on the information shared at CONNECTIONS last week, three of our analysts share some of the insights and takeaways from the conference:

Kristen Hanich, Senior Analyst

One new trend that emerged at the conference this year was an increased interest in the connected health market. CONNECTIONS attendees were highly interested in independent living and remote health monitoring, and there was particularly high interest in home automation solutions for seniors.

One of the key themes to develop during the CONNECTIONS panels on connected health and independent living was a need to define what exactly independent living entailed. Are these solutions aimed at the adult children of seniors with the goal of make the children's lives more convenient and improving the children's peace of mind with regards to their parents, or are the solutions targeted to the seniors themselves? If to the seniors, then how should these solutions be designed to actually take seniors' needs and wishes into account? Utilizing senior designers and developers making products for themselves and their families is a good start.

Chris O’Dell, Research Analyst

For me, one of the biggest takeaways from the event was the opportunity that exists in the MDU and home builder spaces. These are opportunities that have been long talked about in the smart home industry; however, more and more companies are discovering the potential impact these spaces can have on device adoption and increased RMR. Increased targeting of property managers for apartments, student housing, assisted living, and others represents a chance to sell devices by the thousand rather than to individual consumers.

The home builder channel is another area to explore. While home builders are traditionally risk averse when it comes to adding new technologies in their homes, many players in the smart home industry perceive home builders as an effective channel to introduce smart home products and services to a broad range of customers, including those that are not traditionally tech enthusiasts.

Patrice Samuels, Senior Analyst

An important take away for me was from the keynote – “Demonstrating to consumers that you have expertise in smart home and security is important for them to consider your brand for integrated services.” This statement expands beyond the security industry to other channels bringing smart home services to market. It is likely one of the (underexplored) reasons why service providers that were among the first to bring smart home products to market, such as Verizon and AT&T, did not experience the success they anticipated.

This also has implications for other emerging channels such as builders and insurance companies seeking to offer smart home devices to differentiate their products and services. It implies that offering products and services in partnership with proven brands is likely a better approach to the market than to white label or offer proprietary products.

Be sure to join us next year for the 24th-annual CONNECTIONS™ conference in San Francisco from May 19-21, 2020!

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