Ryan Thomas, Tech Data

Smart tech keeps on getting smarter

Ryan Thomas, business unit manager for mobile, CE & mixed reality at Tech Data considers the smart technology segment.

Tech Data has an array of complementary vendors that sit within the smart home category. From the Google Hardware portfolio to Arlo cameras, Yale security and much more. To provide added clarity and focus, we have organised smart home solutions into a number of sub-categories, as follows:

  • Ecosystem (Google, Alexa, Apple Home Kit)
  • Networking (TP Link, D-Link)
  • Security (Yale, Arlo, Nest)
  • Climate (Nest)
  • Lighting (Philips Hue, Wiz, LifX, TP Link)
  • Entertainment (Philips, Oculus, Facebook Portal, TCL)
  • Lifestyle (Fitbit)
  • Energy (Eaton, APC)

When engaging with new prospect partners we talk about the full smart home ecosystem and how we can assist in creating a shortened decision-making journey for the customer.

We are also expanding our presence in augmented and virtual reality, particularly in the enterprise space with brands like Facebook Oculus, Microsoft Hololens and Google Glass. These are all being made available via Tech Data’s wider solutions aggregation platforms, alongside relevant software solutions and service and finance options.

Smart home is an ever-evolving and growing segment of the market. According to ResearchAndMarkets the global smart home market size is expected to grow from $78.3 billion in 2020 to USD $135.3 billion by 2025, at a CAGR of 11.6%. Separately, GFK values the UK market at €2.3 billion, so we can perhaps expect it to approach €11 billion by 2025, so the potential for growth is huge.

Over the last ten years, AR and VR have begun to show massive promise and many of the tech giants are investing in these technologies, with the global market expected to reach $18.8 billion in 2020 – an increase of over 78% on 2019.

More and more hardware developers are popping up and it’s the start of something completely new.

Increasingly, smart home technology products from different vendors are compatible and will work together out of the box. This has made integration easier and led to further acceptance of smart home tech in both the consumer and business markets.

We have also seen huge leaps forward in acceptance and use of in AR/VR – again in both the consumer and business segment. Much of this has been driven by products such as Facebook Oculus and Xbox Kinnect. This is making a huge difference across the whole category, and the rate of development and user acceptance is accelerating all the time.

AR & VR are now able to bring the digital world to life, either in a completely virtual environment or by bringing digital images and information into the real world with augmented reality.

Tech Data has been working with partners to promote and deliver smart home solutions with a number of sectors, including construction and hospitality. We recently supported one of our reseller partners on a project to voice-enable all guest rooms and services for a large UK hotel chain using Google solutions. This solution enables guests to use simple voice commands to interact with the hotel and personalise their experiences, from making service requests and setting alarms, to asking for local recommendations and hotel information.

With AR and VR there is a real demand for solutions in construction, engineering, medicine, education, and training. Independent software vendors are building solutions that support an array of situations for any given environment.

Millennials are now of an age where they will begin to purchase their first home and as they have grown up with these technologies, they will both expect and want to make use of smart home tech.

Historically, augmented reality has been confined to smartphones, with apps like Snapchat and Pokemon GO leading the way. Over the next few years, we can expect to see players like Apple and Facebook start to get involved and extend the use of AR through head-worn AR glasses.



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