Smart home: opportunities and challenges

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

APPLiA spoke at the webinar “EU Smart Home Automation and Industry Growth, Challenges and Opportunities by 2027“, organised by HQTS, a company that provides quality control inspections, factory audits, supplier evaluations and consumer product testing in Asia. During the event, Ian Bell, Global Lead for Home and Technology at Euromonitor International, highlighted that the way we are living our home spaces, both indoor and outdoor, is changing. The situation that the pandemic has brought forward is impacting lifestyles and purchase choices at many levels. “The use of appliances has surged over these months and online shopping has also registered a consistent increase”, said Ian Bell. Using voice controls has become more natural, external conditions are changing and so is consumer behaviour. In this sense, smart appliances keep up with the times. “We assist to the rise of a new electricity market, where the demand is mobilised and participate in the energy market” – said Paolo Falcioni, APPLiA’s Director General -. Smart appliances can help manage the electricity bill by taking advantage of the demand-side flexibility in the home, meaning that a variable energy generation is coupled with variable demand and is reflected in reduced energy bills for consumers”.
As APPLiA explains, there are three challenges linked to the opportunities: in a data economy data ownership is crucial; privacy, that must be guaranteed; cybersecurity, to prevent any possible attack. What is the EU doing to face these main challenges? As reported by APPLiA, “on e-privacy there is a proposal from the EU commission that is being discussed in the Council, whose scope is currently not fully clear however. Predictive maintenance, for instance, should be possible and the regulation as it stands does not allow it. For what concerns cybersecurity, there is an Act in place since June 2019. The home appliance sector aims at an EU-wide certified framework for products, services and processes (Falcioni explained that products must be secure by design and schemes must remain voluntary). Artificial Intelligence is very important as it is linked with innovation. An horizontal regulation will be proposed on this topic, but the definition of AI is not clear yet. On this topic, overregulation should be avoided so that innovation is not hampered”.