Plume shares smart home insights
July 22, 2021
By Colin Mann
Personalised smart services specialist Plume has released data and insights into smart home trends resulting from increases in the number of devices, types of devices, hours used and data used across smart homes.
This comes as it surpasses what it says is a major milestone: more than 1 billion unique client devices have been managed by Plume’s cloud controllers globally. This achievement coincides with a major shift in the way people are using their technology at home for everyday convenience, entertainment and new work norms.
Our homes are becoming more crowded with smart and connected devices than ever, providing unprecedented convenience, personalisation, and enjoyment. While the pandemic accelerated and influenced some trends in the types of devices and patterns of usage in the smart home, Plume’s analysis of the number, type and usage of devices found that many of these trends were in place pre-pandemic and are expected to continue post-pandemic as consumers embrace the overall value of smart homes. In addition to the expected increase in smartphone, laptop and tablet ownership and usage, Plume found that fitness devices, security cameras, voice assistants and connected cooking devices are all trending significantly upward.
- Pandemic effect: Covid-19 caused consumers to increase devices in the home. The number of devices per US household increased by 38 per cent during the pandemic, increasing to 18 devices per household on average, up from 13 in October 2019. This reflects two commonly reported trends during the stay-at-home orders: an increase in the number of family members living together as many young people returned from college or urban environments; and investment in technology as people spent more time at home. The most common smart home device was voice assistants, which grew by 28 per cent from October 2019 to May 2021, followed by smart light bulbs, which grew by 110 per cent, and security cameras which experienced 40 per cent growth.
- Prioritising fitness during the pandemic. In the US, as Americans scrambled to create home gyms, fitness smart devices and wearables surged in popularity. Fitness bikes and trainers have been at an all-time high—up 132 per cent in May 2021 from October 2019. Tonal, in particular, experienced 190 per cent growth in the US, with Peloton at 158 per cent growth from October 2019 to May 2021. Wearables and smartwatches expanded with 51 per cent growth during the same timeframe. Apple was the fastest-growing smartwatch, growing 54 per cent since October 2019.
- Entertainment effect: Homebound and streaming. As consumers were forced to stay home, they invested in smart entertainment devices to occupy their time. Entertainment-based smart home devices increased by 16 per cent overall from October 2019 to May 2021. The most common smart entertainment category was TVs and streaming devices, which grew by 34 per cent from October 2019 to May 2021, while traditional set-top boxes grew by just 2 per cent. The fastest-growing entertainment device category was virtual reality which experienced 223 per cent growth.
- Is connected cooking here to stay? With many restaurants closed due to the pandemic, we saw consumers spending more time preparing their own meals and prioritising high-tech convenience for the home. Smart cooking devices have been at an all-time high—up 60 per cent in May 2021 from October 2019. The range and stove category, in particular, experienced 65 per cent growth from October 2019 to May 2021.
- Smart home security: more home network usage presents more cyber threats. As the number of smart devices increased, so did the number of security threats. Between October 2019 and May 2021, there was a 39 per cent increase in the number of cyber security threats blocked by Plume in US homes.
- Lighting, security and fitness are big movers in Europe. As European residents faced multiple restrictive lockdowns due to the pandemic, it’s clear they sought out ways to make their homes more comfortable. Smart light bulbs grew 233 per cent and security cameras grew 29 per cent from May 2020 to May 2021. Voice assistants also experienced 13 per cent growth during this same time period. Additionally, European residents sought ways to stay occupied and active during this time, as fitness bikes and trainers saw an increase of 67 per cent. Among this category, Peloton was the most popular brand in Europe, experiencing 82 per cent growth.
- Wearables and smartwatches boomed in Japan. More Japanese residents turned to new ways of tracking their health, as the wearables and smartwatches category increased by 127 per cent between May 2020 and May 2021. Apple watches in particular were the most popular and fastest growing device category in Japan with an increase of 131 per cent during the same time period.
“This milestone is significant because it marked the arrival of the truly connected smart home.,” states Bill McFarland, CTO at Plume. “In the US, we are seeing 38 per cent growth in connected devices per home on our cloud-controlled software defined network (SDN), and believe this is just the tip of the iceberg as more consumers see the value and realise the promise of smart WiFi and smart homes.”
Personalised smart home experiences — the intuitive home — is the next big play, suggests Plume. Consumers are now ready for the devices they use, and the services that connect them all together, to anticipate their needs and go beyond point solutions. That level of interoperability requires visibility and capability that crosses the entire home network and insights from a massive, global data set. CSPs, device makers, and application makers are all rushing to fill that need.