Long before the “smart home” became mainstream, custom integrators were creating highly intelligent homes through sophisticated automation programming that linked various products and systems. Carefully and skillfully orchestrated scenes set the stage for the owners’ day-to-day activities, usually at a premium price.
Fast forward to today, and many are now considering a smart home where they can ask Alexa to do something, often through a smart speaker.
While everyone in the personalized channel knows it’s not that simple, the path to a smarter home has certainly become more accessible to a wider range of potential customers.
Automation platforms have changed over the past decade, helping integrators attract customers who still need advanced systems to control large-scale residences, but also providing solutions for those who might set foot in the door of a smart home without breaking the budget… and with the possibility of scaling up if the opportunity arises.
The good news for integrators (and makers) is that no matter how you cut it, the smart home control business is definitely thriving in the custom install channel – both high-end and low-end. of the market, as more options than ever abound for interfaces and connected devices/systems to control.
The very first EC Professional The Smart Home Deep Dive study revealed interesting data in terms of number of interfaces and placement, price, margin, working hours and brand preference.
Facilities and prices
The typical custom installation company will install 25 smart home control systems in 2019. While 25 is the median, there is a group of resellers who focus on a few high-end products, while others play volume play.
Data shows that 32% of integrators install less than 10 control systems per year. On the other hand, 14% of custom integration companies installed more than 100 control systems in 2018.
Asked earlier this year for the Smart Home Deep Dive, responding integrators were also optimistic about their smart home control prospects for 2019.
According to the study, 61% of integrators believe their smart home installation business will grow this year. Just over a third (36%) think business will stagnate, while 3% think control system installations will drop this year.
From a cost perspective, the average installation price for a smart home control system in 2018 was $27,720.
This high average shows that the top of the range remains the main wheelhouse for integrators; however, the entry-level smart home control setups are also solid.
In total, one in four installations cost less than $5,000, while 31% cost less than $10,000. A sign that price pressures are at play, two out of three integrators do not think they can raise their prices in 2019.
Number of interfaces/devices controlled
The types of interfaces used in a smart home project have become very diverse. The average smart home system consists of 25 separate interface devices, including keypads, light switches, cell phones, voice modules and touch screens.
In total, these 25 interfaces control an average of 43 total devices, including individual light fixtures, blinds, printers, thermostats, speakers, surveillance cameras, displays, and more.
About one in five (19%) smart home projects have fewer than 10 controlled devices, while 5% of smart homes have more than 100 controlled devices.
Subsystems and interface placement
Logically, the connection of a smart home control system to the home network/router is the most common “subsystem”, although the network can be better defined as an element of infrastructure than a subsystem.
Multiroom audio is the most frequently controlled true “subsystem,” with 69% of smart home projects controlling distributed audio.
In order, the remaining subsystems controlled by a centralized controller are security/surveillance (53%), lighting (52%), climate/thermostat (49%), multiroom video/TV screens (45 %), motorized blinds (31%). , and voice-activated speakers (28%).
Location of interfaces
Some interfaces are placed in certain places because that’s where the technology exists, while others are placed in areas for convenience, such as entering/exiting the house.
The multimedia room is room n° 1 where there is an interface. This makes sense since this will most likely be the room with a TV screen and audio.
Master suites, outdoor entertaining spaces, and secondary bedrooms are also high on the list of locations, likely due to the concentration of technology there. However, kitchens, mudroom/entry, garage, laundry room, and bathroom are likely locations for convenience.
Profit margin, brand preference and voice control
In general, integrators aim for profit margins above 30%, and this is no different in the smart home space. The average profit margin for a smart home installation (including equipment and labor) is 33%.
About 12% of integrators say they earn less than 15% profit on these jobs.
The study also asked integrators to select their preferred control brand. The results are a mix of smart home controllers and security-based systems.
The top ten companies are:
- DSC/Johnson commands
Amazon Alexa is by far the dominant voice command platform in the channel, preferred by 71% of home automation integrators surveyed.
Rising channel-centric platform Josh.ai performed remarkably well in the survey, with 17% of respondents calling it their favorite voice control brand.
Google Assistant (8%) and Apple Siri (4%) barely registered a blip
[The voice control section has been edited to reflect a more accurate interpretation of the findings. 5/6/2019]