UK Developer Offers Apple HomePod and HomeKit Enabled Smart Homes
A residential housing builder in the U.K. is including smart home amenities like Apple HomePod and SiriKit for a development in Milton Keynes, Buckinghamshire outside of London. The company website says:
“We are proud to present 56 stylish, eco-friendly new homes…each property comes with smart, digitally connected accessories built in as standard…Through your television, mobile phone or tablet device, you can check on your home security, turn off a light you accidentally left on and see who’s at the front door, whether you’re indoors or out and about.”
According to Pocket-lint, the developer has extended these capabilities in 39 “smart homes” that come with “a full range of the latest Apple products to get you started.” The concentration on Apple SiriKit compatible products ensures that all of the features can be coordinated from a single interface. The article summarizes the initiative:
“Rather than merely offer a smart speaker or maybe some smart lights the houses, which range in size from two-bedroom apartments to four-bedroom terraced townhouses…will come packed with tech including smart lights, smart switches, smart radiators, and smart security, all powered by Apple HomeKit enabled devices and controlled by a bevy of included Apple devices like the Apple TV, Apple HomePod, and iPod, and even an Apple Watch.
Builders Embrace Smart Home Technology to Entice Homebuyers
Voicebot wrote recently that U.S. homebuilder Lennar was pre-installing Amazon Alexa-based devices in new developments in Florida and Texas. At the time, Lennar’s Dan Grosswald commented:
We can see a marked difference where [smart home technology] is part of the home, there is more of an interest in buying.
Homebuilders respond to consumer interests and trends. Those interests today are migrating to expectations around using smart speakers and smart home technologies. The solutions are not particularly difficult to set up, but the builders are attempting to appeal to the idea that everything is already taken care of and the new homeowners will be living in a more modern, convenient household. A recent study by OC&C Strategy Consultants found that about 10% of U.K. households owned a smart speaker in 2017 and that is expected to grow to 48% by 2022. The U.S. numbers are even higher at 13% today and 55% in 2022. This is a logical trend for homebuilders to follow with new amenities.
Why Apple HomePod and HomeKit?
It is not surprising that builders are adding smart home capabilities to their new developments. The more curious decision by Trivselhus is the choice of Apple HomePod and HomeKit over Amazon or Google offerings. Amazon’s Alexa and Google’s Assistant have far more smart home integration partners than HomeKit and HomePod has only been available in the U.K. for about six weeks. Alexa and Google Assistant enabled devices already number in the millions in the U.K. and switching people to Apple could be difficult. However, here is where the interplay between pre-installation and smartphone installed base help Apple’s cause. First, if it’s pre-installed, lack of smart home product integration isn’t an issue. A compatible solution is simply selected by the builder. Second, more than one-third of U.K. consumers, including a majority living in upper income households, use iPhones today. And, when you look at Apple iOS use in other consumer devices, Statista claims the company’s market share is almost 53%.
The list of devices that come with the home include the HomePod along with an iPad, iPod Touch, Apple Watch and Apple 4K TV. Apple’s broad product array enables the builder to offer several pre-integrated solutions to new homeowners that must seem like an attractive bonus to receive with your new home. As a result, Apple is not really trailing Amazon and Google and has some advantages in terms of consumer familiarity, use and product-line breadth. Ken Forster, Managing Director of Trivselhus UK, also pointed to Apple’s reputation for consumer product design.
The key to this is working with someone who understands what the consumer wants. That’s why we’ve partnered with Apple.
We now have examples of builders pre-installing Alexa and Siri enabled features and products to entice homebuyers. This is another data point that shows the strength of demand for smart home and voice assistant-enabled technology. Google Assistant seems left out of the homebuilder trend at the moment, but I doubt we will have to wait for long to see it arrive.