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Although the global smart-lighting business is expected to double in revenue in the coming years, market growth continues to be constrained by a lack of consumer awareness of the technology’s benefits.

Worldwide sales of smart-lighting and connected control systems are expected to swell to  $21 billion in 2023, up from $10 billion in 2018, according to Omdia. Sales of residential do-it-yourself (DIY) smart lighting systems will be one of the most important factors driving market revenue growth and raising awareness of the concept of smart lighting. 

“Smart lighting technology is becoming more accessible to consumers thanks to the growing availability of simple DIY smart-lighting systems,” said Pal Karlsen, research analyst, building technology, at Omdia. “However, there are a few barriers preventing mass adoption. The main obstacle is arguably the lack of awareness and appreciation of the benefits smart lighting can provide to the consumer. This is a critical factor preventing the business from reaching its full growth potential.”

Smart lighting systems can enable “human centric lighting,” which allows customized lighting conditions in the home to help improve residents’ sleep, productivity and comfort. 

“Health benefits can be a very strong argument in favor of making an investment in a smart lighting system, but manufacturers have not been able to effectively share this message with consumers,” Karlsen said. “Manufacturers will need to dedicate more effort to educating customers about the real-life benefits of smart lighting systems. This educational outreach can include real case-studies and results from scientific studies or consumer tests where the benefits of smart lighting have been demonstrated.”

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LEDs lead the market
The emergence of the smart lighting market is directly linked to the rapidly increasing adoption of LED lighting technology, which is driven by demand for energy efficiency.

However, lighting manufacturers have tried to refocus their marketing activities on benefits beyond energy savings and instead to position their products as part of the “IoT revolution.” These companies have introduced a number of smart-lighting solutions for residential end users, although the cost of set-up and installation service is very high and not many families can afford the luxury of a professional smart lighting system. This has prompted manufacturers to introduce simple, highly affordable DIY solutions that don’t require professional installation.

Starting small with DIY lighting
Traditionally, consumers have purchased DIY smart lighting systems that include a dedicated hub or a gateway priced around $30-$60 that can control smart light bulbs. There are also much simpler solutions where users can control the lights directly through their tablets or phones via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections. Consumers often start slowly with a few lights in one room, such as the living room. Therefore, initial requirements for functionality can be satisfied with low upfront cost. 

Lighting manufacturers can capitalize on the opportunity of residential DIY smart lighting systems by offering easily accessible solutions that highlight the benefits of human-centric lighting, including improved wellbeing and comfort at home. The ability to use voice commands through smart assistants is another key factor driving successful product adoption. Connectivity through easily accessible wireless technologies such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth and compatibility with the wider smart home ecosystem are important factors necessary to the long-term success of consumer-grade smart lighting solutions.  

Smart speakers turn up the volume
The growing popularity of smart speakers embedded with digital assistants is now expected to enable users to control their smart lights with voice, without the need for a separate hub. This means that the costs of acquiring a smart-lighting system are declining even more as many users already have a smart speaker at home, with more than 100 million devices shipped in 2019.