The digitization of applications for private households, for example in the areas of comfort and security, energy management and self-determined living in old age, is progressing rapidly. The expansion of the internet and the spread of networkable household components as well as mobile communication devices create new applications for homes and new business models. As a result, the smart living sector has become more and more important. With a rapidly growing market, German companies, in particular, are predicted to account for a large share of the global market volume.
For the year 2021, studies predict a worldwide market volume of 19 to 30 billion euros (). Statista estimates the turnover of the smart living market in Germany in 2017 at 1.29 billion euros. The market volume is expected to reach 4.14 billion euros in 2021 – this corresponds to an increase in turnover of 33.7 percent per year. Significantly higher sales are already being achieved in the USA: expects market sales in the US to reach 13.19 billion euros in 2017.
However, German companies still face major challenges in the smart living market, especially with regard to cross-industry interoperability, data security, usability, support in procurement and installation as well as competition from foreign companies. (Potential) users are still in need of information and education about the new technologies. According to the Smart Home Monitor 2016, 30 percent of the households surveyed in the study already use smart home applications; however, many respondents were unaware of this. Approximately half of the participants in the study are generally interested in smart assistants, and only one in five reject their use in principle. The main reasons cited in cases of refusing to use smart home devices were the perceived high costs, a general uncertainty regarding data protection and the incompatibility of devices from the various manufacturers.
Removing market barriers is crucial if German suppliers and manufacturers are not to lose promising market opportunities. German industries agree that these challenges can only be overcome with the help of a coordinated approach. To achieve this goal, more than 40 leading companies and associations launched the Smart Living business initiative in March 2017.
As the removal of the current market barriers for smart living applications is not only a technological but also an economic task, the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy (BMWi) has already implemented a number of measures in recent years to promote research and development in this segment. This has shown, among other things, that further efforts are necessary to convert the achieved results into marketable products and promote a leading German market for such products. This includes the promotion of uniform standards and the development of suitable qualification measures.
Finding a specialist firm
Consumers who seek advice on smart-living applications have several options available to them to find a qualified specialist near them with the help of the participants in the Business Initiative Smart Living:
- via the search engine for specialist companies offered by the Central Association of German Electrical and Information Technology Trades (ZVEH) at https://www.zveh.de/smarthome-betriebe
- via the search engine for specialist firms offered by the “Smart Home Initiative Deutschland e.V.” at http://www.smarthome-deutschland.de/fachbetriebe/fachbetriebe-finden.html
- via the search engine for specialist companies offered by the “Bundesverband Rollladen + Sonnenschutz e.V.” (Federal association roller shutters + sun protection) at https://rollladen-sonnenschutz.de/smarthome-fachbetriebe/.