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The current pandemic is expected to have a lasting impact on the way we live, study, work, socialize, and take care of ourselves and our loved ones. As a result, consumers have begun to imagine what the post-COVID-19 landscape might look like, especially in terms of changes to home arrangements and everyday necessities. Omdia believes that the home will be one of the most important epicenters of post-coronavirus lifestyle transformation, not only promoting a sustained demand for smart home solutions (as seen in Figure 1) over the next few years, but also driving people to better accommodate their homes to the new reality that it is unfolding.

Five types of smart home solutions will gain greater relevance in the new context:

  • Assisted living technology, such as health monitoring sensors and trackers, as well as smart displays for video calls with health professionals and carers.

  • Products that, via voice control, can help users to not touch surfaces and objects, such as smart lights.

  • Solutions that can enable people to keep distanced from others, such as video doorbells.

  • Devices that have the potential to limit the spread of this epidemic and future events through prevention, such as air purifiers.

  • And finally, advanced technology capable of offering aggregated functionality and serving multiple applications in multiple domains, such as AI-enabled smart speakers.

Moreover, the need for “zero-touch” self-installation solutions will be paramount. Vendors and service providers in the smart-home market will need to focus on solutions that are truly plug-and-play with a simple set-up process. Meanwhile, as social distancing persists, they will have to reconfigure the market approach for other types of solutions that rely heavily on professional installation services to work, such as smart thermostats and door locks.

Finally, another outcome from the pandemic is that it will accelerate activities in the home improvement and hygiene areas, favoring smarter solutions over traditional ones. This means that spending longer hours at home has intensified the need to keep it clean, giving people the opportunity to also improve the state of their living accommodation if possible. Cleaning robots, air purifiers, and many other products with home hygiene-related functionality will see renewed interest from consumers. Now that the benefits of these solutions are becoming clearer, the key for market participants in this space will be to tackle the cost barrier by offering not only affordable solutions, but also commercial flexibility and financing to help customers in a time when all non-essential expenditure is under constant scrutiny.

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