A Strategic Look at Smart Homes
I’ve been spending a lot of time thinking about Smart Homes, and who is best positioned in the race to control the home.
The players with the best chance are clearly Amazon, Apple, and Google. Of those, I’d say the lead has to go to Amazon at this stage in the game given how well Alexa is selling.
Sleepers? Zillow, ADT, and Facebook. (they would all need major strategic acquisitions or partnerships to pull it off)
What are the ways into the home with a consumer touch point?
- Television (Samsung)
- Gaming consoles (Xbox)
- Home theatre
- Door locks
- Music (Alexa)
- Alarm system / home security (ADT)
- Digitized controls for “connected devices” (lights, heat, door locks, etc)
- Mortgage / rent payment
- Utility payments (see the recent news about Acasa)
The big three are going after music & connected devices.
From a consumer perspective, the big challenge with the smart home opportunity is it’s reliant on all the connected devices (heating systems, lights, alarms, doorlocks, etc) working together. If I have the greatest smart home platform on the planet that can control my whole entire house — but only 15% of the “things” in my home are compatible. Well, that’s a pretty damn useless technology platform.
That’s the name of the game. How do you get into the home in the first place?
Getting consumers to replace door locks, lights, thermostats, etc is a long long road. It’s a no secret it’s easier to integrate new hardware if you’re building from scratch. Therefore, those tackling the smart home opportunity should focus their business development / marketing resources on the areas of the industry that are responsible for a big chunk of modernizing homes (and have more turnover) — new construction, remodels, apartment buildings, vacation rentals, & long term rentals.
Whether its Amazon, Google, and Apple — whoever wins the race to the dominant position as the “smart home” platform of the future is going to make an absolute killing.
As competition heats up, I’ll be interesting to see whether any of the players change course, perhaps deciding to go all in on catering to specific regions/countries. Like we saw with social networks early on, I anticipate strong network effects taking place in certain locations. Apple may win the home in Brazil and Argentina, while Amazon controls the market in the United States and Canada.
My next articles will take a look at the strategic positioning of Apple HomeKit, Amazon Alexa, and Google Home.