Residential Gateways to Serve as a Catalyst to Bundled Networked Home Controls, Says ABI

With nearly 20 million shipments expected in 2008, residential gateways, progressively central to broadband-based home application management and distribution, will support home control system growth in U.S. homes, according to research firm ABI.

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Residential Gateways to Serve as a Catalyst to Bundled Networked Home Controls, Says ABI

OYSTER BAY, N.Y. - - February 10, 2004 - - As technology, connectivity and automation permeate the home, companies such as Samsung, Honeywell, Sears, and Whirlpool will push to be more than just the purveyors of DVD players, air conditioners, refrigerators, and washing machines. Other technology opportunities exist, and these companies will push to expand products and services if customers demand them. The enabler will be the gateway that connects the nodes in the home, affirms technology research firm ABI.

In a home controls market estimated to be near $4 billion by 2008 in the U.S. alone, US -based networked home control revenues will approach nearly $900 million, according to estimates from ABI. With nearly 20 million shipments expected in 2008, residential gateways, progressively central to broadband -based home application management and distribution, will support home control system growth in U.S. homes.

Given the proliferation of Internet -ready devices, ABI anticipates that the PC will play a substantial role as an Internet gateway, but may be overshadowed as dedicated home control gateways incorporate that function as well, creating a more seamless system. "The computer will maintain an advantage with its computing power and set of traditionally accepted and demanded applications," explains Erik Michielsen, ABI senior analyst. "However, it remains to be seen if service providers will push their own gateways at lower prices in efforts to provide complementary services to the PC at a much lower cost."

ABI sees broadband gateways and set -top box gateways as progressively incorporating "bundled" whole house gateway functionality. Whole house gateways are used to connect HVAC, security, lighting, consumer electronics, PC, and connected appliances. Home control companies are expanding beyond their traditional core market to add features and systems to provide a bundled package for the homeowner. Interest in home control systems will be closely correlated with the presence of other complementary data and entertainment home networks, as well as the presence of consumer electronics devices.

One of the key inhibitors to home automation has been the lack of integration between multiple systems. In recent months, however, digital media adapters have come to market, enabling IP -connectivity for a number of components in the home. Zensys is building bridges with Intel to enable low -cost low -power wireless connectivity with automation systems. Linksys and I -Cube also offer digital media adapters to port gaming, photos, and music across the home. Finally, with a strong showing at January's Consumer Electronics Show, the Zigbee Alliance continues to demonstrate large -company commitment to the low -power, low -data rate home automation wireless networking across lighting, security, consumer electronics, computing, and appliances.

ABI's report, "The US Digital Home Enterprise 2003: Connected Home Automation, Resource Management and Distribution Across the New Home Landscape," analyzes the current status of the US home automation industry, evaluates the impact of broadband networking, standards formation, and convergence on the marketplace, and projects market trends over the next several years. Related areas such as residential gateways, networked home service providers, home control systems, and structured wiring installations are also included. Key market forces including housing, broadband, Internet, consumer electronic, networking, entertainment, and energy sectors are covered, and the study shows how the confluence of recent events, technology innovations, economic developments, and market entrants are redefining what home automation means and how it is becoming an integral component of many companies' short and long term strategic planning and product development initiatives.

ABI is a N.Y. -based technology market research firm founded in 1990. ABI publishes market research and technology intelligence on the wireless, automotive, electronics, broadband and energy industries. Details can be found on the web at abiresearch.com or by calling 516 -624 -3113.

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