Why the Smart Home Isn’t a Winner-Takes-All Market

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In the world of technology, we’re accustomed to incumbents monopolizing verticals. For search, it’s Google. For professional connections, it’s LinkedIn. For smartphones it used to be the Apple, now it’s a duopoly between them and Android.

But the home is different. Wikipedia’s List of major home appliance manufacturers alone covers over 75 independent companies. There are hundreds of furniture manufacturers and precisely 449 television manufacturers listed on Wikipedia alone.

Yet in the smart home space, we’re accustomed to seeing headlines like “5 reasons why Google Home will beat Amazon Echo” with photos like this:

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Considering how diverse homes can be, this outcome seems unlikely. There are houses that sell for as low as $6,000, and others that sell for $200,000,000. There are beach houses, winter houses, urban apartments and suburban townhouses. Apartments as small as 400 square feet, and mansions far exceeding 100,000 square feet. In a recent blog post we discussed some of these differences:

Considering there are 124.6 million homes in the US, it makes sense that some people will always choose the lowest cost option. Others want the premium solution. For some it’s about the aesthetic or specific functionality. For some it’s about scale. While it’s unclear which segment of the market will prefer the Echo vs Google Home, or Josh.ai vs the new product Apple is rumored to announce, there’s no reason to assume one of these products will take the market.

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This was written by Alex Capecelatro, Co-Founder & CEO of JStar. Previously, Alex was a research scientist for NASA, Sandia National Lab, and the NRL. Before that, Alex worked at Fisker Automotive and founded At The Pool and Yeti. Alex has an engineering degree from UCLA, lives in LA, and likes to tweet about AI, Startups, and Design.

Josh.ai is an artificial intelligence agent for your home. If you’re interested in learning more, visit us at https://josh.ai.

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