Design Teaching

The strategic value of home appliances manufacturers in the Smart Home

Jul 2, 2018

by Roberto Ranucci

Innovation is inevitable. Time is just a detail. Early adopters, traditionalists, budget conscious customers…in the end, everybody is a convert when technology improves efficiency.

35 photo 1

The Smart Home will happen and home appliances manufacturers must be ambitious and grasp it.

As Innovation analysts, we tend to overestimate short-term effects and underestimate long-term ones. We know that the Smart Home phenomenon is poised reach extraordinary popularity: AT Kearney tells us that the market value in 2030 will be around 400 billion US dollars and that it will be representing more than the 40% of the home appliance market. Are consumers ready right now? If yes, what is driving their appetite?

According to eMarketer, the most important feature that users consider when purchasing a Smart Home device is security. Second, convenience. And who is destined to lead the market? There is no doubt that home appliance manufacturers are the natural candidates to do so. But will they be the only guests at the party? One needs to look not further than Blablacar and Uber for a strong argument to the contrary–neither was launched by automotive brands. Startups have a unique opportunity to make a strong run for industry leadership since they are agile and already capable of a disruptive mentality.


Appliance manufacturers have a shot at gold, but they’ll need an App.

If appliance manufacturers want to pull to the front of this race, they’ll need a intuitively integrated mobile app platform. We’re already living in a moment when anyone can monitor home security and energy consumption through mobile apps like Piper or Belkin WeMo. Smart Home technology is alive and well, and it’s future boom will be significantly driven by the mobile revolution. Consumers are downloading more apps than ever before. Apps are retaining space on our mobile devices, and conquering more and more time in our life. The role of the mobile app is central, as a natural point of convergence for the various functionalities serving the customer.

Let’s imagine the number of remote controls that every house could have. The app is and will be a natural single-point-of-contact for every need. Winning apps will be simple and capable of transmitting an adequate level of perceived security. Design will play a central role. Home Appliance Manufacturers are destined to a significant share in the Smart Home growing market: but to grasp this opportunity they will have to change perspective in how they design products and focus on the customers’ needs.

35 photo 2

A holistic, integrated approach with mobile apps is needed. According to Gartner, by 2022, the Smart Home will offer many innovative digital business opportunities and new revenue lines to the Appliance Manufacturers that are able to innovate. At L+R, we help businesses digitize their customer experiences. Our expertise within the Smart Home market is fueled by our holistic approach to seamlessly integrated technology. We have worked within the top appliance categories in the world within Newell Brands; BRK Electronics, First Alert, Contigo, Yankee Candle, EXPO as well as R&D with Watersen, completing necessary mobile innovation initiatives.

Roberto Ranucci is L​+R‘s Digital Transformation Director in Europe, ​responsible for strategic and business-related activities for the European Market. Contact him at [email protected].