Following advances in computer and networking technologies, the long-vaunted concept of the “smart home” is on the verge of becoming a widespread reality.
Pivotal to the imminent spread of the digital home has been the expansion of network infrastructure through residential areas in the wake of the smart phone's rise and popular demand for near-ubiqtuious internet coverage. Just about every home in the major urban centres of developed economies enjoys access to a digital network connection.
The spread of wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi and Zigbee is also helping to overcome the dilemma of the interoperability between connected devices, further facilitating the emergence of digital homes.
The rise of the smart home is perhaps best evidenced by the keen interest in the concept shown by the biggest players in the technology sector. Earlier this year, Google acquired both Nest Labs and DropCam, while Apple is releasing apps that provide smart home capabilities to iPhones and iPads.
The smart home era will have major implications for vendors of residential security systems; security considerations are in fact one of the key drivers behind the ongoing digitisation of households by consumers.
A recent Harris Poll study conducted at the behest of home improvement chain Lowe's found that one of the main motivations for installing smart home technology is security concerns and surveillance.
The "Lowe's 2014 Smart Home Survey" asked more than 2,000 adult respondents in the United States their opinions on the digitisation of their personal residences, and found that the overwhelming majority (62 per cent) considered security and home surveillance to be the most advantageous aspect of owning a smart home.
This is well ahead of reductions in energy costs (40 per cent), general convenience benefits (35 per cent) and protection from floods, fire and natural disasters (29 per cent).
This emphasis on security considerations in the minds of potential consumers will expedite the adoption of smart home measures and will bring manifold opportunities to security service providers who can make the transition to new technologies.