Control & Automation

Smart Home Predictions for Holiday Season: Security Way Up, IoT Hubs Slip

Argus Insights analyzes social chatter and product reviews to determine this season’s winners and losers in various smart home categories. Security cameras dominate; smart lights and home automation hubs lose favor.

Smart Home Predictions for Holiday Season: Security Way Up, IoT Hubs Slip
Consumer "acceptance" of various smart-home categories is determined by the volume of product reviews in those categories. Argus Insights has determined that, in the weeks leading up to Black Friday 2016, the adoption of smart doorbell cameras is way up (211%) compared to last year, while adoption of smart-home hubs and kits is on the wane (down 28%).

View more charts from the Argus Black Friday Smart-Home Report


Credit: Argus Insights

Photos & Slideshow

Julie Jacobson · November 23, 2016

When it comes to buying smart home devices this holiday season, which IoT categories will win? The answer is security, according to research from Argus Insights. Standard surveillance cameras, smart doorbell cameras, security systems and smart “detectors” will be way up this season compared to last. Video doorbells will dominate, with adoption rates potentially growing 211% compared to last year.

Meanwhile, Argus predicts that demand for smart home hubs (including Amazon Echo) and smart lights will decline year-over-year.

In predicting holiday sales for smart-home products, Argus turns to a unique model of mining crowd-sourced data from social media and shopping/review sites. CEO and “Data Whisperer” John Feland, PhD, claims Argus’s metrics are “proven predictors of consumer demand,” and he has data to prove it.

With these claims in mind, we should see a rise in demand for smart-home products across the board this holiday season compared to last, which is not surprising. “Social Volume” related to the smart home surged in the 46th week of this year (Nov. 13-19, one week before Thanksgiving), with roughly 32,000 mentions compared to about 25,000 last year. The run rate for week 47 (Thanksgiving week) is looking strong.

Social-media chatter around the smart home is rising dramatically this year vs. last year in the run-up to Black Friday. (Charts reprinted with permission of Argus Insights.)

Much of the chatter is being driven by promotions in the overall smart-home category running up to Black Friday, according to Argus.

In week 46 of this year, social activity around security cameras crushed the year-prior numbers by a multiple so large it’s as if smart cams didn’t exist last year. Leading up to Black Friday, we’re also seeing big leaps in the volume of product reviews for this category. The two metrics together portend a strong holiday season for surveillance products.

In a triple whammy for the camera category, “consumer delight” based on product reviews is surging for doorbell cameras heading in to Black Friday.

Not so for home automation hubs and kits, including Amazon Echo. In the weeks leading up to Black Friday, Argus notes a significant decline in “buzz volume” of smart-home hubs (based on social media). At the same time, consumer adoption and consumer delight for the category are slipping based on the quantity and sentiment of product reviews.

View more charts from the Argus Black Friday Smart-Home Report

Even anecdotally we can tell that home automation hubs aren’t getting the visibility they enjoyed over the past few years. CE Pro has noted again and again that IoT hubs and kits are too challenging to explain to consumers, as opposed to single-purpose devices like thermostats, smart lights and, yes, doorbell cams.

Feland suggests there are other factors at play. For starters, the market is turning to more “hubless” architectures with services such as IFTTT. Also, if 2015 was the year of the smart gateway, then consumers today are looking to “build out more parts of the ecosystem,” he says.

And while hubless architectures rely on Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, Z-Wave still dominates the conversation when it comes to smart-home standards, according to Argus. While net sentiment (positive minus negative reviews) may be falling for Z-Wave, it is also dropping for ZigBee, which is getting less and less attention on social media.

One final note: Suppliers don’t seem to be delivering on their promise of simple device connectivity, which continues to be a sore spot for users. Even the happiest smart-home customers, the promoters, shudder at connecting smart devices to the network. And the smart-home detractors are haters largely because of frustrations with connectivity in general, more so than specific factors such as Wi-Fi communications and routers.




View more charts from the Argus Black Friday Smart-Home Report

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  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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  Article Topics


Control & Automation · Security · Cameras · Surveillance Systems · Business · Research · News · Products · Business · Resources · Argus · Doorbell · Echo · Research · Smart Home · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by antoniohardeman on November 29, 2016

This article was very interesting in terms of defining trends using social media buzz.  The industry (CEPro industry) can survive if it adapts to the changes that are here.  I think that CEPros should consider making the pivot toward smart home as a service (SAAS).  As Steve mentioned, margins are becoming razor thin on some items, but as the internet of things revolution grows and evolves you will see more customers looking for some type of managed system.  One that gives the customer the flexible to make changes and create scenes and even add light switches and other simple items.  There are some companies doing this but the industry as a whole is reluctant to change.  As this revolution grows, strictly relying on margins from equipment sales and software programming fees will certainly lead to a prolonged, slow death march for some.

Posted by dbendell on November 29, 2016

This industry is a slow death to the end for dealers and installers. Sure there will always be a few around, but it will shrink and die. The margins of this last week from manufactures direct, or TV manufactures asking us to make $3 on TV’s is a disgrace. Its a race to the bottom and its not who gets their first, but who is left standing. I am completely annoyed by the manufactures under cutting the distributors and dealers this last week.  Only a few have shown strength in keeping some margin left for retailers to survive. However few they are, there is not enough to keep this industry afloat.

Posted by Steve Hoge on November 24, 2016

Yes, I noted item #2 in your 2017 Trends list - but not being exactly an industry pro I didn’t know what specific products it might be referring to.  Can you give an example or two?

Posted by Bruno Napoli on November 24, 2016

All I see here is opportunity for Custom Installers to show their real Value and earn Home Technologie medal.
So many opportunity to make pure cash because nothing is more complicated than those DIY things. Millions of family will cry and be ready to pay a lot for Smart Technological Guidance.
Long time ago I quit my Custom Installer job to create Krika, and sometime I think that I should quit my actual job at Krika to work back as a Home Technologist, create worldwide Home Technologist squad specialized in “Making work all the smart crap you buy everyday”
It certainly make me richer faster ! (joking)

Posted by Julie Jacobson on November 23, 2016

Lots of new technologies coming out to help mitigate such attacks. See especially #2 in our 2017 trends. Products will be tracking activity of connected devices looking for anomalies and intruders. http://www.cepro.com/article/ce_pro_names_top_5_home_technology_trends_opportunities_for_2017

Posted by Steve Hoge on November 23, 2016

If home automation is trending away from behind-the-router hub-based architectures and towards cloud-based systems that require IoT clients with IP addresses to communicate THROUGH the firewall, does that imply we might see more DDoS botnet attacks based on hijacked IoT devices? Yikes.

Posted by Steve Hoge on November 23, 2016

If home automation is trending away from behind-the-router hub-based architectures and towards cloud-based systems that require IoT clients with IP addresses to communicate THROUGH the firewall, does that imply we might see more DDoS botnet attacks based on hijacked IoT devices? Yikes.

Posted by Julie Jacobson on November 23, 2016

Lots of new technologies coming out to help mitigate such attacks. See especially #2 in our 2017 trends. Products will be tracking activity of connected devices looking for anomalies and intruders. http://www.cepro.com/article/ce_pro_names_top_5_home_technology_trends_opportunities_for_2017

Posted by Bruno Napoli on November 24, 2016

All I see here is opportunity for Custom Installers to show their real Value and earn Home Technologie medal.
So many opportunity to make pure cash because nothing is more complicated than those DIY things. Millions of family will cry and be ready to pay a lot for Smart Technological Guidance.
Long time ago I quit my Custom Installer job to create Krika, and sometime I think that I should quit my actual job at Krika to work back as a Home Technologist, create worldwide Home Technologist squad specialized in “Making work all the smart crap you buy everyday”
It certainly make me richer faster ! (joking)

Posted by Steve Hoge on November 24, 2016

Yes, I noted item #2 in your 2017 Trends list - but not being exactly an industry pro I didn’t know what specific products it might be referring to.  Can you give an example or two?

Posted by dbendell on November 29, 2016

This industry is a slow death to the end for dealers and installers. Sure there will always be a few around, but it will shrink and die. The margins of this last week from manufactures direct, or TV manufactures asking us to make $3 on TV’s is a disgrace. Its a race to the bottom and its not who gets their first, but who is left standing. I am completely annoyed by the manufactures under cutting the distributors and dealers this last week.  Only a few have shown strength in keeping some margin left for retailers to survive. However few they are, there is not enough to keep this industry afloat.

Posted by antoniohardeman on November 29, 2016

This article was very interesting in terms of defining trends using social media buzz.  The industry (CEPro industry) can survive if it adapts to the changes that are here.  I think that CEPros should consider making the pivot toward smart home as a service (SAAS).  As Steve mentioned, margins are becoming razor thin on some items, but as the internet of things revolution grows and evolves you will see more customers looking for some type of managed system.  One that gives the customer the flexible to make changes and create scenes and even add light switches and other simple items.  There are some companies doing this but the industry as a whole is reluctant to change.  As this revolution grows, strictly relying on margins from equipment sales and software programming fees will certainly lead to a prolonged, slow death march for some.