Focus on home automation start-up companies

energy efficiency, energy 3.0, electricity consumption, home automation, start upIt has been said for several decades that home automation would create a revolution in our homes; today, the market for connected homes is finally mature. The French Home Automation Federation and Xerfi Institute have started structuring the French “ecosystem”, and Google just invested several billion dollars in the sector. Here is an overview of some of the most promising fledgling home automation firms.

Start-up businesses want to go mainstream

According to the Energy Regulatory Commission, “home automation technologies represent a great potential in terms of energy efficiency services, ranging from consumption tracking and monitoring to local generation management and control.” The relentless rise in energy prices makes these solutions appealing to an increasingly wider public.

Many entrepreneurs, like Alexandre Chaverot, head of Avidsen, have been designing and offering innovative solutions to meet this growing demand. He believes that “there is a strong French know-how” and that it is key to “advertise to the general public and let them know that they can get their homes entirely automated and controlled”.

A start-up business-friendly market

Connected homes contain embedded electronics, IT and telecommunication technologies that meet households’ needs. According to François-Xavier Jeuland, head of the French Home Automation Federation, “the smartphone and tablet boom has completely changed people’s perception of smart homes.”

Moreover, as Philippe Gattet from Xerfi explains, the market for connected homes has grown by an average 6% every year between 2003 and 2010, with room for further growth in the areas of security and energy efficiency. In fact, it is a start-up oriented market, i.e. one that rewards information sharing and innovation, while promising considerable profit opportunities.

Watch those young companies in 2015

Along with Avidsen, many French start-up businesses have opened, in spite of a rather difficult regulatory and tax environment. In 2013, GreenUnivers, a website specialized in green businesses, published a list of very promising French companies, such as Lucibel (which bought its competitor Homelights in late 2012 at a price that has remained confidential), Neolux and Xanlite.

In January 2014, US tech giant Google sparked renewed interest in home automation technologies by buying Nest for 3.2 billion dollars. But other less well-known companies strive to make our homes smarter. Dan Jones, analyst at Light Reading, mentions Yetu AG, founded by Christopher Schläffer from Deutsch Telecom, as well as Dropcam, SNUPI Technologies Inc., Canary and tado°, Nest’s European competitor.

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