Some smart home devices headed for the 'Brick' courtyard

Demand for smart home devices is forecast to grow steadily over the next few years. However, consumers should think carefully before buying due to the trend of manufacturers gradually eliminating "smart" products.
Last week, Google stopped offering Google Nest Secure home security alarms without warning, though it said the device would continue to work for existing owners.

"Google Nest will no longer produce Nest Secure, however, we will continue to support our users in the same way," a Google spokesperson said in a statement to The Verge.

Google is the latest in a series of similar moves in the industry.
In May, smart home device manufacturer Wink Labs announced it was ending free access to its platform, and said it would start charging monthly service fees. Outrage from users saw Wink reverse its decision two weeks later, but the company said at some point it would ask users to pay a subscription fee to offset the cost.

That followed Belkin's announcement in April that it would stop supporting cloud-powered Wemo NetCam products on May 29, making the devices useless. The anger of users caused the company to extend the use of the device until June 30.
Last November, Best Buy closed back-end systems for various smart home devices sold under its Insignia brand. The lowest housing improvement chain in January 2019, the closure of the Iris smart home platform and related services came into effect on March 31 of that year after it was unable to find a buyer for its underperforming product line.

Jack Narcotta, senior industry analyst for smart home strategy at Strategy Analytics, told Wikiall: "Typically, consumers have no choice but to throw away their closed devices.
The recession caused by the epidemic has impacted global consumer spending on smart home-related devices this year, Narcotta said.

However, things will flourish next year and he predicts global consumer spending on these devices "will continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 15%, reaching $88 billion by 2025."
A troublesome trendIt wouldn't be nice for a smart device manufacturer to abandon a product line or cross out its products, but these actions are no coincidence.

Google has abandoned the Nest Secure system that appears to be part of a move to bring everything related to smart homes and smart home devices under its wing while expanding into new markets.

The Nest devices will be delivered to home security and automation company ADT, of which Google will invest $450 million.
"Together, we look forward to creating the next generation of useful homes - based on new security solutions that will better protect and connect people to their homes and families," Rishi Chandra, vice president and GM, Nest, said in announcing the relationship with ADT.

Chandra noted that Google will "combine its Nest devices, services, and technologies with ADT's leading position in providing security solutions to millions of households and small businesses in the United States.". Over time, Nest devices will "become the cornerstone of ADT's smart home offering."
The collaboration began when Google announced last May that it would end its "Work with Nest" program, which allows people to control Nest products through other smart home apps, on August 31, 2019, and convert users to "Works with Google Assistant Platform".

Jason Perlow wrote on ZDNet that It was a bit worrying for Google to "suddenly decide to discontinue the provision of a cloud API that hundreds of IoT devices have used in less than 5 years". "That means the idea of mixing and combining products for home automation - the iono of IoT and smart homes - is a farce."
All about BenjaminsFor other smaller smart home device manufacturers or those new to the industry, it's an economic question. Wink Labs is losing money providing free access to its servers, while Lowes found the line of smart home devices not as profitable as expected.

In some cases, manufacturers may be forced to abruptly close their product lines because "with tight profit margins in some smart home device segments, most smart home device companies may not know that they need to create a last-minute retreat strategy". Strategy Analytics' Narcotta pointed out.

Still others, like Belkin and Best Buy, may find that providing cloud-based access to their smart device products is not worth the time, cost, technical support and effort required.

Marcotte commented that replacing discontinued smart home devices is not difficult or expensive. "Just download a new app, connect new devices to your home Wi-Fi, and the only difference might be the logo on your devices. You are replacing devices that cost $20-25 a week, without destroying the entire family security system or HVAC solution. "

Unexistent as to be unitedYes, but today, with rising unemployment, tight money, and stress at home, consumers are likely to react strongly to anything that makes things harder for them, reflected in user reactions to Wink Labs and Belkin announcements.
Market angst "is inevitable, and ultimately most consumers will be attracted to one of the larger brands, while also being able to become managers of smaller brands," Narcotta noted.
Amazon will likely continue to step up Google "with a similar investment, or even acquisition, over the next eight to 12 months," he said.
"However, there will always be room for innovations - smaller companies find space to fill the portfolios of larger companies."
Set a common standardOne of the problems that smart device manufacturers are currently experiencing is that there are many different communication standards on the market.

"Bluetooth, Z-Wave, ZigBee, Thread, Propriety, and WiFi all compete to provide connectivity in a wide range of smart home devices – often side by side in the same device," says ABI Research. "Each has ecosystem features and drivers that can appeal to specific OEMs, system suppliers, and consumer requirements."

Amazon supports ZigBee in one of its Alexa services while Google Nest leverages its own Thread protocol to communicate indoors with sensors and other devices, but both rely on WiFi and Bluetooth for their main functionality, according to ABI Research.
In Asia, however, Bluetooth will increasingly provide connectivity from voice-controlled terminals to a wide range of smart home sensors around the home, leveraging Bluetooth Mesh and promoting protocol complexity that complements a wide range of smart home sensors.

"New and improved wireless protocols will be available to players between 2020 and 2024 and a shift towards a more standardized approach is underway," said Jonathan Collins, director of smart home research at ABI Research. Until then, services based on 802.15.4 will lead the market.

A more standardized approach could restore the original purpose of the Internet of Things - the ability to combine and combine home automation products.