Smart home markets may be about to exclude renters and people living in apartments, according to Lauren Barack, who writes for GearBrain.com.
While some smart systems such as Amazon Alexa speakers can be used in any space, many smart home devices such as smart thermostats seem to be far less easy to integrate into an apartment, especially if you’re renting one. According to a recent study by property management software firm Entrata, however, there is a strong demand for smart devices among renters, a new phenomenon that has attracted the attention of smart device manufacturers such as Phillips Hue, Comcast and Honeywell.
New smart solutions for renters and apartment dwellers
The installation of the majority of smart home devices remains a thorny issue for renters and/or people living in apartments, both because of the technical problems this entails and for the need for them to obtain permission. “The No. 1 struggle may be that [renters] don’t have clearance to permanently modify their dwelling,” says Chris Heintzelman, Honeywell's senior product marketing manager for environment solutions.
In response to the specific problem posed by smart thermostats, Honeywell is now developing special thermostats that can be adapted to any type of room, without any modifications having to be made to the existing system. Other companies such as Comcast are looking to solve the problem by working directly with developers to fit their devices into buildings when they are being built.
More nomadic smart devices
New security systems such as plug & play security cameras, which do not require the owner’s permission or any special wiring and which can be taken away and used elsewhere, are especially popular among renters, as Heintzelman explains.
Smart bulbs are also something people take with them when they vacate a space. This is not the case, however, with switches and thermostats, at Phillips Hue's US product marketing lead Mike Deschamps points out. Internet provider Comcast is also looking to satisfy demand among renters with its Xfinity Home system, which by the second half of 2018 will feature a smart security camera.
Though they are used more widely by homeowners at present, smart home devices should begin featuring in more rented accommodation and apartments in the near future. Manufacturers are waiting in the wings to attract future customers, which is not surprising given that the global smart home will be worth a potential $107bn over the next five years.
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