Are Smart Neighborhoods the Future?
The city of Auburn, the largest in eastern Alabama, officially has its first smart neighborhood thanks to a partnership between Holland Homes and Alabama Power. Each house in the Northwoods neighborhood will come equipped with a Google Home and Google Mini. Historically we’ve seen more implementation of Amazon Alexa in smart homes, so the recent expansion of Google products speaks to the smart home’s rise in popularity as well as a sign that Google is starting to compete with Amazon in this market as well.
The Northwoods smart home system is provided by Vivant and is not only technologically savvy but also energy-saving. “We are proud to partner with Alabama Power to build energy-efficient homes that feature advanced energy products and home automation,” Holland Homes, LLC. proprietor Daniel Holland told OANow.com.
- Voice-activated devices
- Thermostat control
- Open and close blinds
- Play music
- Turn on fireplace
- Activate a Roomba vacuum
- Open garage door
- Monitor cameras
- Smart door locks
Northwoods is set to be fully constructed by June 2020 and houses are already being reserved. It’s not the first smart neighborhood for Alabama Power, as they have a handful across the state which started with a Birmingham development in 2018. Alabama Power sells energy-efficient appliances and electronics through their company Smart Neighbor where they have a category of smart home products so customers can “teach their home to tap into connectivity for convenience and control.”
Growth in Smart Home Use Cases
According to the 2019 Smart Speaker Consumer Adoption Report, smart home use cases were a notable mover between 2018-19. In 2018 it was the fourteenth most common use case and it rose to ninth in 2019. Over 45% of smart speaker owners have used them to control smart home devices up from only 38% in 2018. At one time, it was assumed that smart speaker adoption was being driven by smart home aficionados. It may be that the large audience of smart speaker owners is now the key catalyst for further smart home adoption.
Amazon Continues to Own the Smart Home Market
Amazon is a major player in smart home as it owns one of the largest product makers in Ring which the company acquired for $1 billion in 2018. Earlier this year Amazon joined the board of the Zigbee Alliance, an organization of hundreds of companies that collaborate to create and evolve the IoT. In the press release Zigbee Alliance said this about smart home satisfactions:
Moving beyond its infancy, the smart home is taking hold and consumers are embracing IoT products as they continue to become easier to use. Manufacturers and standards organizations are bridging differences and breaking down barriers for the good of the entire industry. With voice services like Amazon Alexa and products such as the Amazon Echo family — which serves as the ‘brain’ or hub of choice in smart homes across the world — consumers can intuitively connect lights, locks, sensors, and more to broaden the conveniences around them.
Google’s Home and Nest collection is Amazon’s biggest competition. Google’s smart speaker market share did increase nearly 6% from 2018 to 2019, however, it’s not enough to take the lead over Amazon. Apple’s smart home initiatives have shown that entering this market late creates a significant challenge for consumer adoption and smart home device support. Siri has only a few hundred smart home device integrations compared to tens of thousands for both Google Assistant and Alexa.