The smart services specialist Plume has announced that over a billion unique client devices are now managed by their cloud controllers around the world

Around the world, the smart home market is growing rapidly, helped in no small part by the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. With whole families forced to spend more time at home than ever before, additional connected devices are being launched and purchased every week, offering customers unprecedented convenience and a more personalised experience.

For smart home specialist Plume, this growth has been exceptional, with the company now recording over a billion devices connected to its cloud controlled network. Partnered with over 200 communications service providers, Plume uses AI algorithms to continuously optimize services for customers and takes predictive and pre-emptive actions, operating across 30 million locations globally.

The number of devices per US household increased by 38% during the pandemic, increasing to 18 devices per household on average, up from 13 in October 2019. Plume notes this increase not only a result of increasing appreciation for digitalisation and an additional investment in connected devices, but also family members returning home during the pandemic and bringing their smart devices with them.

“This milestone is significant because it marked the arrival of the truly connected smart home.” said Bill McFarland, CTO at Plume. “In the US, we are seeing 38% growth in connected devices per home on our cloud-controlled software defined network (SDN), and believe this is just the tip of the iceberg as more consumers see the value and realize the promise of smart WiFi and smart homes.”

Plume’s research shows that these trends of adopting smart devices were already in place before the pandemic began. Like we have seen in so many industries, the digitalisation often viewed as a direct result of the pandemic, is actually an acceleration of a pre-existing process that was already happening before we first encountered Covid-19.

By drilling down into this vast amount of data, Plume has revealed some interesting trends when it comes to smart home trends. When it comes to new devices, the most common were shown to be voice assistants, the number of which grew by 28% from October 2019 to May 2021, followed by smart light bulbs, which grew by 110%, and security cameras which experienced 40% growth.

Fitness was another clear focus for consumers, with fitness bikes and trainers up by 132% in May 2021 from October 2019, while wearables and smartwatches increased by 51% in the same timeframe. 

Perhaps unsurprisingly, entertainment-based smart home devices saw a major lift, up 16% year-on-year, with TV’s and streaming devices the most popular, increasing 34% year-on-year. By contrast, set-top boxes grew just 2%. But perhaps most interesting here was the adoption of virtual reality, experiencing 223% growth year-on-year, indicating that the technology is rapidly maturing for the consumer market.

In a Total Telecom interview with earlier this year, Plume’s Chief Commercial Officer, Tyson Marian, said that operators need to move quickly to capitalise on this explosion in smart home devices, or else find themselves at risk of being major tech players like Google and Amazon.

“The smart home will be won digitally,” Marian explained. “Not with physical devices like the Nest Thermostat or the Sonos Speaker. It’s going to be about the data and what you can ultimately leverage from that. Are the service providers at risk of losing in this environment? Absolutely, one-hundred percent.”

You can watch the full interview with Tyson Marian here.

This need for readjustment from the operators will be especially true for in the upcoming phase of the smart homes evolution, focussing on personalisation. Consumers are now ready for the devices they use, and the services that connect them all together, to anticipate their needs and go beyond point solutions. That level of interoperability requires visibility and capability that crosses the entire home network and insights from a massive, global data set.

For decades now, operators’ focus has been on connectivity speed and data usage. Now, with the advent of a more intuitive home, they must instead shift to maximising the value of their enormous data sets and use them to deliver a more personalised connected experience. 


Want to keep up to date with the latest developments in the world of telecoms? Subscriber to receive Total Telecom’s daily newsletter here

Also in the news:
Pay in full: Indian Supreme Court gives operators no relief on AGR dues
Altnets unite in Brazil to take on major operators
Spain’s 700MHz 5G auction completes without Masmovil