Without wanting to play Cassandre, in our market of connected objects, there is a risk of having a little blood on the walls. At the end of the 1990s, a speculative bubble, affecting companies in the overvalued IT and telecommunications sectors, finally burst.
Will connected objects experience the same fate?
Today, it must be noted that the market is not yet there. Of course, following the CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, we feel that a lot is happening, new products and very interesting technological innovations, notably French, are emerging. But behind the scenes, alliances are also fighting, and all of this, alas, creates a huge readability problem for potential consumers.
Lack of market maturity
The same causes producing the same effects, we had alliances at the level of protocols, we now see alliances emerging at the level of manufacturers. On the one hand, the AllSeen alliance with Qualcomm, LG, Microsoft … on the other, Google with its consortium and its Thread protocol which has already joined a number of companies like the giant Samsung, add a little more more confusion in the minds of the general public. The strongest will necessarily impose its choices and we do not veil the face, Google has all the chances to prevail.
One thing is certain, it shows a lack of market maturity which makes the buyer's decision process more complicated. However, if we want to democratize the connected house, that is to say connected objects which not only communicate but, above all, also interact with each other, objects therefore more complex than a simple wearable object, such as a jewel or a connected clothing that is ?one-to-one?, we must go towards further simplification. To reduce the cost of a connected object, there is no secret: it is necessary to make volume. And to be able to make volume, it is necessary to respond to a real expectation of consumers. However, at CES in Las Vegas, we were also able to discover unusual objects to say the least. Do they all correspond to real consumer demand? The question will inevitably arise. Furthermore, for a connected object to be attractive, in the world of energy regulation for example, you must be able to promise a return on investment to the individual. However, for the energy savings generated to reimburse the equipment he bought, it will be necessary to wait, the volume not yet being met.
At Avidsen, we have been investing in home automation and connected home for almost 10 years. So we know how much it costs to get into this market. This also allows us to say that at present this market has not really started yet. Fortunately, we are fortunate to be a group with more than 47 million euros in turnover. The connected house is only a small part of it. This is all the rest of our products, gate operators, intercoms, cameras, alarms … which allow us to have a certain base, to generate enough turnover and profits to be able to continue to invest in the connected home in which we firmly believe.
With Somfy and Myfox, we are finally few retail players to have been present on this market for a long time. Today, everyone believes in it. Recently, we have seen a multitude of companies appear. Competition is now exacerbated with many contenders but, inevitably, few chosen. Many companies do the same thing and only have connected objects as their only activity. But how many of them really succeed in selling their products? This situation is relatively worrying. We are going to know alliances, mergers or takeovers in numbers because the market has not really taken off and it will not fly in a snap of fingers in 2015.
The fight is just beginning
Connected objects are more popular with the media than with consumers. Topical subject and attractive in France because many of us are successful in this area, the press has become technophile. As proof, the significant media coverage at the CES in Las Vegas. In addition, the objects connected with the issues related to Big Data and data security will continue to fascinate journalists.
And so much the better! We must continue to evangelize the general public. But by addressing more to ?Mr. and Mrs. Everyone?. We are still in an ?early adopters? market and the image conveyed by the media does not allow everyone to appropriate connected objects.
In the collective imagination, maintained by the few television advertising spots, the connected house simply opens or closes the shutters, turns the lights on or off, remotely. However, consumers will never spend, in droves, 500 euros or more for that.
In reality, the connected house is much more than that, it is a house that adapts to the habits of the whole family to do many more things, such as, for example, managing the heating and the alarm simultaneously. you leave your home or enter your garage. The intelligence of the connected home is, indeed, limitless.
But it will not be without collateral damage for us, entrepreneurs, who still have efforts to provide to simplify products and systems and better communicate with the general public.
With the arrival now of giants such as Google and Apple on this market, it is clear that the single protocol of connected objects is strongly compromised. Interoperability between objects will rather be via the Cloud through APIs, programming interfaces, which will allow several devices of different brands to communicate and be hyper-operable. This will be the case, for example, with the digital hub that La Poste wishes to offer, which will allow equipment from different manufacturers to be piloted on the same application.
Between helping to develop the market and retaining its market share, the fight has only just begun.