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Equipment Manufacturers Advance on the Smart Home Market through Acquisitions

Jul 03, 2019

Smart Home

When people think smart home tech, their minds often jump to Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant devices like the Echo and Home. These tech giants have made a name for themselves in the home with clever digital assistant devices, demonstrating to consumers the value in being able to monitor and control devices with voice activation. However, there are a range of other companies competing in the smart home space and worth tracking. Telecom providers like Comcast and Deutsche Telekom are peddling business-to-business and direct-to-consumer offerings; furniture retailers like IKEA are expanding connected product portfolios; electronics manufacturers like Samsung are embedding connectivity into their traditional appliances.

Large Equipment Manufacturers Are Stepping Up

Recently, large equipment manufacturers have also stepped up their game to compete in the smart home. In May 2019, Resideo (a spin-off of Honeywell) announced that it was acquiring Whisker Labs. Resideo has always been committed to home comfort technologies with its extensive range of thermostats and heating and cooling equipment. But this acquisition of Whisker Labs—as well as its initial acquisition as an independent company of Buoy Labs, provider of a Wi-Fi-enabled water monitoring and leak detection solution—demonstrates how the company is embracing smart technologies. Resideo is looking to strategically integrate these technologies into its existing offerings.

Similarly, Trane, a subsidiary of Ingersoll Rand, recently acquired EcoFactor. Ingersoll Rand already has Nexia Home Intelligence in the family, and Nexia is pivoting its smart home solution toward home comfort and energy, better aligning with Ingersoll Rand’s other business segments. The addition of EcoFactor will bring even more capabilities to its traditional equipment offerings, such as HVAC performance monitoring

Embedding Smart Home Technology into a Home’s Infrastructure

These acquisitions by major global home equipment manufacturers enable smart home technology to become more embedded in a home’s infrastructure. These moves also mean that if the solutions are embedded in the equipment, there will be less need for the plug-and-play point solutions like sensors and thermostats from other companies, meaning equipment manufacturers could begin to encroach on the market share of other smart home companies. It begs the question, does one even need a Nest thermostat if the intelligence is built directly into the heating and cooling system? On the other hand, both Resideo and Ingersoll Rand are limited in where they will strategize around the smart home (it would be hard to imagine either company competing in the digital assistant market). However, in terms of energy and home comfort, these companies could make significant changes in the market with these acquisitions.