Solution Providers Cheer As Apple Works With Home Builders To Boost HomeKit Adoption

Apple is aiming to boost its HomeKit home automation platform in the consumer market getting home builders to install its IoT devices in new construction, creating ready-to-go smart homes, according to a report by Bloomberg.

Solution providers like Bacem Moussa, CEO of Boston-based TSP, an Apple partner and solution provider that offers home automation services to high-end homes, cheered the move as a way to bring more business to the building automation space.

"The overall impression is that it's very good news, it’s a way to make people more aware of home automation and put the control of home automation in the hands of clients," he said. "There's a lot of room in the market for consumer adoption of home automation, [and] there is absolutely tremendous growth in this space for [solution providers] to have an impact."

[Related: 4 Ways Solution Providers Can Find Profit Opportunity In The Internet Of Things]

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According to the Bloomberg report, Apple is working with construction companies like Miami, California-based Lennar Corporation, and Canada-based Brookfield Residential Properties.

Apple's home automation framework, HomeKit, released in 2014, serves as Apple's first foray into the Internet of Things through allowing customers to control compatible accessories – including smart locks, lighting, monitoring cameras, and thermostats – from their iOS devices.

HomeKit connects to Home, an app comes standard with iOS, while Apple devices compatible with the Home app are available in its retail shops. HomeKit is part of an increasingly competitive market in the home automation space, which includes the Google Home and Amazon Echo platforms.

Chris Compton, founder of Smart Home HQ, a Newport, Kentucky-based service provider specializing in home automation, said that he is also working with local builders to deploy home automation solutions. Apple's push for HomeKit in more homes could help solution providers like Compton come in and offer support and services, as well as customized future implementations of more connected devices, he said.

"If you can get in with the building companies or with real estate companies, to get homes pre-wired and solutions installed, it will allow customers to experience first hand the benefits of IoT," he said. "This is good for Apple, and its good for companies like me because once these customers already have connected homes we can come in later to customize it."

The home automation market is expected to grow quickly over the next few years. Market research firm Strategy Analytics said that up to $40 billion would be spent on home automation in 2020, up from $24 billion spent in 2016.

It is essential for Apple and other vendors to work with channel partners at the home automation level to provide security, support and maintenance services, stressed Moussa. One important question still remains about Apple's HomeKit and other home automation platforms - what is the strategy for fixing device or security issues customers with home automation systems may have?

"Like with an iPhone or other consumer devices, there's an implicit assumption that the market will take care of support," he said. "I'm skeptical about that approach. Like a phone or a car, home automation is fairly complex, and the solutions are complex. You have the audio-visual, the lighting, and all kinds of other automation making up a complex environment. As the Apples, Googles, and Amazons of the market start improving on the gadgets they're building that will increase demands for our types of services."