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The home of the future

The home of the future The home of the future

The connected home of tomorrow, they say, will be full of smart gadgets like internet-connected fridges that will order milk when you run out. Except that it won’t quite be like that.This oft-cited and silly shorthand for the networked future home fails to capture the scale of change that is coming, or the risks it presents to established businesses.

The connected home will, of course, have connected devices but it won’t be fridges with a web presence that matter or toasters with an Instagram account (although that said, someone has already invented theselfie toaster). Smart gadgets will only represent a tiny part of the opportunity.

Those that adapt to the forces that are already reshaping how we all live and buy are set to profit in new ways, not least among them consumer brands, while those who don’t adapt to change, including retailers, face a potentially existential threat. Counter-intuitively perhaps, in some cases the consumer won’t be where the value lies at all for businesses selling into our homes, and big beneficiaries could include utilities and insurers.

A retail revolution

The change taking place now amounts to a new era. Post-Second World War, the dominant retail model has moved from independents to chain stores to multi-format to online and multi-channel.

Now a new model is emerging: the platform, says Paul Martin, KPMG in the UK’s Head of Retail. “The big picture is that more people will become part of large platform ecosystems and a larger shareof their spend compared to today will go towards those ecosystems.”

These consumer platform ‘ecosystems’ operate on five pillars, says Martin:

  • Customer
    The large numbers of people who are at the center of the connected home.

  • Connectivity
    This is the infrastructure connecting devices, and is typically owned by telco and broadband organizations.

  • Cloud
    The vast amounts of computing power and strong data security, which are fundamental to the connected home.

  • Content
    This encompasses a wide range of content from the obvious, such as audio and video media provided by Netflix or Spotify, but also things like access to insurance.

  • Kit
    The hardware that forms a network in and around the home from fire alarms and thermostats to doorbells and connected cars.

Typically most organizations have expertisein one pillar – retailers occupy the customer.

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