IT Pros and Entrepreneurs: Tap the Smart Home Market - InformationWeek
IoT
IoT
IT Leadership // Team Building & Staffing
Commentary
10/20/2017
07:00 AM
Larry Alton, business consultant
Larry Alton, business consultant
Commentary
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IT Pros and Entrepreneurs: Tap the Smart Home Market

IT pros ready for a change should consider the smart home market to leverage skills such as IT security, networking and development.

Sick of the corporate policies and projects that go nowhere? Is the entrepreneurial bug nagging you? Consider the growing market for new smart home products.

There are always new developments that promise job security and excitement in the market. Getting into the latest and greatest fields offers a world of opportunity for IT professionals, developers, and entrepreneurs.

Smart home technology abounds for startups

If you had told homeowners 20 years ago about the current advancements in smart home technology, they never would have believed you. There are dozens of products that now connect with the Internet, including light bulbs, clothing, watches, cars, thermostats, alarm systems, and pet feeders. It’s estimated that by 2020, there will be more than 20 billion items connected to the Internet of Things.

IoT has expanded smart home security products significantly over the last few years, and their popularity has grown as well. According to research from the real estate company Coldwell Banker, the majority of homebuyers will pay more for a home that is equipped with smart home technology.

Because of its rise in popularity, there also have been a number of new startups in the smart home realm. Over the last few years, we’ve seen hundreds of apps, software tools, and devices hit the market to fill the desire for smart technology.

There are lights that can shut off with a single tap on your smartphone, voice-activated personal assistants that can do all your shopping for you, and even robots that can feed and play with your pets. The opportunities for startups is incredible, and any savvy tech-minded entrepreneur would be crazy not to pursue some kind of smart tech startup while the products are so popular.

Security pitfalls support startup ideas 

Despite the popularity of smart home tech, you can’t argue with the many security pitfalls these devices hold. For a couple of years, law enforcement and the FBI have strongly pushed for greater education in the smart home market. Most recently, the FBI issued a warning to parents about the dangers of Internet-connected smart toys.

There have also been warnings about some home security systems leaving you vulnerable to hacking and burglaries. Smart alarm systems can have flaws that allow hackers to disable them and sneak into your house.

No one wants to think about the risks that these incredibly useful tools pose to your home security, but it’s a real concern and presents a huge opportunity for startups. There’s a tremendous need for cybersecurity software that works and will fill the gaps that are often left when security companies and smart tech fails.

For example, Butterfleye is a startup with the goal of designing a smart home security camera that doesn’t rely on the homeowner’s network. In this way, hackers will have a more difficult time accessing and shutting down the entire security system. If successful, the tech will significantly decrease the hacker’s port of entry into a person’s home, and Butterfleye founders will make a mint on their product.

 

Look for opportunities

The smart home industry is ripe for opportunities in building a tech empire. The IoT market is largely unregulated, and the constant murmur between interconnected smart home devices grows louder and more chaotic each day.

Every year at CES, there will be new startups exhibiting software that purportedly will solve many of the security concerns facing smart home technology. The number of businesses discussing IoT security solutions is growing at a rapid rate, so now is the time to get started.

Look for opportunities within this narrow market to capitalize on a new security tech business. If you can develop the next great cybersecurity protector for home devices, you’ll do well enough to leave your current role.

By 2020, the smart home market is supposed to jump from $600 billion to nearly $2 trillion. Waiting even a year might prove too late to make this highly lucrative opportunity a reality. The world is ready for smart home technology now, and what it needs is experience in IT management, a background in tech development, and good business sense.

Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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