Vendors need to be open to smart home opportunities, claims Gartner

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Vendors building interoperable gateways for the smart home will capitalise on a market that is set to quadruple in size during the next five years, new research has claimed.

A report from Gartner said the number of connected homes will grow from between 100 million and 200 million homes now to between 500 million and 700 million homes by 2020.

Researchers said demand has increased as the technology has become more sophisticated, prices have declined and connectivity has improved.

Paul O'Donovan, principal research analyst at Gartner, said: "Many IoT applications are triggered by sensors and need data management, but there is no single IoT gateway to the home. As Internet-connected homes become increasingly smarter, the gateway is becoming the "centre" for connecting the different devices and home appliances to make the management of the ecosystem happen."

A range of smart home ecosystems have been developed by operators, manufacturers and digital companies. Deutsche Telekom plans to launch its Qivicon platform in the Netherlands and the UK this year.

Telefónica is working with Samsung to enable its Thinking Things IoT technology into the manufacturer's connected home products.

Gartner said that whoever develops a home gateway that will integrate into a wide range of IoT applications easily will be the one who will capitalise in the long term. It said closed systems are ultimately doomed because they limit the number of devices that can be connected.

It noted some companies have realised this and started to develop partnerships that offer consumers choice. One example is the Thread Group, which numbers Google, ARM and Samsung among its 160 members. Last month it released its first protocol, based on IPv6 and 6LoWPAN

O'Donovan added: "As the IoT gateway market emerges, ISPs will be the early winners in the battle for the home gateway, provided they develop solutions or partner with hub manufacturers. The mobile phone providers will gain a smaller part of this market, but ultimately the cellular model will not have enough bandwidth to compete with the ISP solution. Longer term, there will need to be an integrated device, whereby the gateway is also the hub, or integrated hub and gateway solutions will be needed."