Investors poured $300 million into smart home startups in 2016, with no particular pattern or sophistication, and acquisitions did not keep pace with the strong investment . It was a busy year for partnerships as well, with telcos and insurers forging partnerships with smart home hardware startups, following a similar path of utilities years ago. At the same time, smart home platforms continued to grow their number of partners and enabled capabilities; it is still too early to call a winner, as Samsung’s SmartThings triple-digit growth proves platforms are still anyone’s game. In collaboration with Argus Insights, we analyzed consumer sentiment data in order to isolate what devices are resonating most with consumers, and why. We then compared consumers’ views to our own methodology for evaluating value within the smart home, and took a deep dive into the smart thermostat (the only “killer app” of the smart home that we identified in 2015), to understand its rise in consumer delight and buzz volume. All of this analysis points to energy as an established and maturing segment in the smart home, with security entering the “emerging” state. Well-being, a category which was particularly interesting a year ago, is still largely in development but companies need to actively engage in this area to avoid missing the wave.
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