The world of automation devices continues to break milestones in 2018 as we move towards a more seamless experience. From the rise of voice assistant speakers to the move towards mainstream-inization of wireless protocols such as Zigbee and Z-Wave, we’ve decided to summarize some of the most notable of the industry this year. 

Whether you are an avid smart home enthusiast or a beginner who’s just trying to take advantage of the best the industry has to offer, we are here to help you out. Usually, we focus on reviews of products, primarily Z-wave and Zigbee based, but at often times, we also like to give our take on the latest and greatest news the industry has to offer. This is such an occasion! 

While usually taking a back seat to more visually exciting tech, this year, the smart home was the talk of the town. Starting late last year, when rumors about an upcoming Apple smart speaker started to rise, voice automated assistants took the main stage of tech news outlets, bringing some light to the exciting world of home automation to many new enthusiasts.

As early as February of last year, once the Echo has already taken a prime spot in the home of hundreds of thousands of Americans, Amazon decided to make one of its biggest marketing pushes for the smart home speaker yet.

Primarily, during the run of the Super Bowl, the biggest sporting event in the U.S., Amazon ran the “Alexa lost its voice” ad campaign featuring some infamous and familiar faces, including Gordon Ramsey and Cardi B, among others.

As notable, as the ad was, Amazon wasn’t the only one making moves in the voice assistant space. Notable tech giants also joined in on the fun.

In particular, we finally saw the release of the Apple HomePod in February of this year, while Samsung announced new developments for their AI smart assistant Bixby. Of course, these are only, but a handful of the full spectrum of voice assistant news the industry had to offer. Make sure to check out our new Top 10 Smart Speakers of 2018 guide and our news tag for voice assistant news for more info on the matter.

Going further into the year, we can’t help but mention that new predictions for the industry are quite newsworthy. In particular, a very recent study from ABI Research noted that the smart home would be over $11 bln in 2012 for telecom operators alone.

Of course, there are notable discussions for the plateau of the industry due to certain issues. For example, our friends at How-to-Geek recently released a quite informative piece on the three biggest problems of the smart home scene today.

Among them, they mentioned something we’ve noted multiple times, that the market needs a more seamless smart home experience, that just isn’t there considering the amount of different ecosystems in play. Of course, we can argue that things are seeing an improvement due to the better cooperation of devices between multiple ecosystems, but the problem is still one that persists.

Speaking of wireless communication protocols for home automation, things seem to improve for both Z-Wave and Zigbee. While not necessarily the talk of the town, both protocols are seeing improvement in both mainstream media coverage and widespread adoption.

Z-Wave, much like the smart home industry itself, is also seeing some positive predictions about its future growth. In particular, Persistence Market Research analysed the current rates of growth of the technology and predicted that the market is to experience revolutionary growth by 2025.

Of course, Zigbee is not necessarily backing down. As we noted in our Zigbee vs. Z-Wave 2018 comparison, both protocols seem to be worth competitors to one another now more than ever.

In fact, just a few days ago, ON World, a business intellience firm in the IoT sector, reported that Zigbee chip sales have reached half-a-billion to date, while by 2023 it is expected for 1 billion Zigbee chips to ship annually.

What’s even more noteworthy is that the company also mentioned that by 2023, the IEEE 802.15.4 mesh standard will reach 4.5 billion cumulative mesh devices, a whooping 85% of which are expected to be Zigbee chip based.

Which one of the two protocols do you prefer? Is there any major news that has happened in the beginning of 2018 up until Q3 2018 in the smart home industry that we’ve missed? Let us know in the comments below! 

 



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