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Competition among platform providers for the smart home continues to evolve

by Joseph Branca | Nov 20, 2015

In a November 2015 report titled Smart Home Platforms: Competitive Comparisons, Strategy Analytics profiles more than 50 platforms that help to enable the smart home experience.
 
With so many competing for the attention of service providers, utilities, manufacturers and consumers, there is certainly room for consolidation in the platform space. However, this comparison illustrates that providers are anything but singular in their approach. The platforms profiled in this report differ in who they are made for, how they are designed, and the capabilities that they offer.
 
SMART HOME PLATFORM COMPARISONS

OEM-specific vs. licensable platforms: In the broadest sense, there are two types of smart home platforms: (1.) those that are made to support a single manufacturer or service provider's products and (2.) those that are intended for license to multiple manufacturers or service providers. Belkin, for example, developed a platform of the former type to support its WeMo line of connected products. Still, the majority of platform providers are focused on the latter category. Like platform providers in industries outside the smart home, they intend to shorten time to market, reduce development costs, and allow companies to focus on core competencies. iControl, who provides the platform behind ADT Pulse, is a prominent name in this category. Zonoff is another that, while not as widely deployed today, is gaining clout among manufacturers and service providers seeking a comprehensive go-to-market solution for the smart home.
 
Architecture: The way that platforms are designed also differs widely with these differences influenced, in large part, by the intended user. Arrayent's Connect Platform, for instance, is designed for manufacturers seeking to connect appliances and other devices to the Internet without building their own infrastructure to support these products. In many ways, working with the Connect Platform is simple: manufacturers embed software on their device which, via a host application, communicates with Arrayent's cloud services. But, while the Arrayent solution isn't tied to any particular radios or protocols, the task of figuring them out is left up to the manufacturer. On the other end of the spectrum are more fully integrated, yet perhaps somewhat less flexible, solutions. In this camp, iControl, Prodea, and several others that we profiled advertise end-to-end solutions that combine cloud connectivity, reference designs for rapid development of in-home gateways, and libraries of pre-certified devices that service providers can leverage in their offerings.
 
Capabilities: Another area in which platforms tend to differ is in the scope of their capabilities. GreenPocket, for example, is a German firm whose platform is built with utilities in mind. As such, the company is heavily focused on energy consumption monitoring and visualization. Taking a slightly different approach, Alarm.com provides professionally monitored security and smart home services to vendors such as Vivint and UTC, among a long list of others. While Alarm.com also provides solutions for health and wellness monitoring, they aren't the only one targeting this segment. ROC Connect, Zonoff, and MiOS all advertise elder monitoring and digital health capabilities as part of their platforms. 

WHO WILL BENEFIT FROM THIS REPORT

Our analysis focuses on the competitive positions of platform providers as well as the capabilities that they offer. This broad survey of providers will prove most useful to companies seeking to better understand the smart home platform marketplace or narrow down the list of potential partners in this ever-expanding community. However, the report doesn't touch on the actual performance of platforms - e.g., maximum number of supported users, latency, etc. - and isn't intended as a substitute for a deep-dive technical evaluation.
 
*Representatives from any of the companies featured in this report are welcome to contact us to review a profile.
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