Smart home market is booming, the home speaker is among the key drivers

According to the IoT Observatory of the School of Management of the Politecnico di Milano, the connected home market continues to grow by 52% compared to 2017 and is worth € 380 million: the driving factors are safety, energy management, comfort. Among the new drivers are voice assistants

Published on 02 Apr 2019

Smart devices have now reached at least 41% of Italians: the smart home is increasingly concrete and runs on the primary needs of families that are the ‘smart’ management of energy, security, home comforts, which in the total of the ‘smart home’ market weighs 130 million euros (35% of the global market). 

But the new protagonists of the Italians’ smart home are about to become ‘home speakers’, i.e. devices such as Alexa by Amazon or Google Home based on voice recognition that cover 16% of the market for an absolute value of 60 million euros. A very relevant data if you consider that these devices are in Italy practically last year and the availability of applications is still quite limited. 

Google and Amazon believe and are investing a lot in this new way of interaction and in this type of devices, and this is also demonstrated by the powerful communication campaigns on the main media that have helped to bring the concept of connected home and smart  services for the home environment into the homes of Italians, giving their own contribution to drag the whole market. 

Insurance companies in other parts of the world have also noticed the potential of the voice assistant: as we wrote in a previous article, according to McKinsey, the insurance market has slowly approached smart home devices, but the advent of Google, Amazon and other providers with their home speaker systems has regained momentum. There are a number of insurers around the world who have already started working with tech companies on this front. For example, Aviva Canada, in collaboration with ProNavigator, a tech provider of insurance automation solutions, has created a broker application for Google Assistant, the AI for Google’s Home platform. With the application, customers will now have the ability to connect to a broker via Google’s hands-free speakers, such as Home Mini and Home Max. 

Returning to the Italian market, particular attention should be paid to the commercial paths of the smart home: 50% of sales are due to the so-called “innovative” channels that primarily leverage services, i.e. that offer the solution to a need and that also rely on a high content IoT device for the connected home to satisfy it. Examples of this type are remote control services via mobile provided by telco operators, solutions for the management of domestic water, electricity and gas utilities, or services related to security management by insurance companies. At the same time, the effect of home speakers has increased the role of retailers who have been able to ride this phenomenon in the best possible way and that in the double presence on the territory and online reach 40% of the market. As already noted, traditional operators are struggling more. The world of manufacturers, designers, architects, electrical installers and builders, while continuing to play an important role, are less incisive and see their penetration capacity decrease from 70% in 2017 to 50% in 2018. In absolute terms, this channel continues to be strategic and has generated an open business of 190 million euros with 10% growth over the previous year. 


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