Home Automation Week in Review

Report Type: 
Week In Review

The HomePod Returns

Last week Apple announced it would update its smart speaker HomePod in 2023. While Apple has forged a name in audio over the last 2 years with the introduction of Air Pods Max and Spatial Audio, this announcement is as much about the smart home as it is about music. The redesigned HomePod notably adds Thread support, a temperature and humidity monitor, and features sound recognition; the ability to monitor audible smoke and CO alarms and send a notification to iPhone. The new HomePod is compatible with Matter and is available February 3rd for $299.

The NPD Take:

  • The launch of Matter has given companies a new reason to focus on the smart home and Apple’s HomePod embraces the new specification. While the new HomePod has notable audio features to make music listening more enjoyable, it’s the Matter compatibility and built-in environmental sensors which headline the device and its contribution to the smart home.

Galaxy Watch Update Adds Smart Controls

Samsung recently announced that it would bring more smart home controls to Galaxy watch devices. While the ability to monitor and control home automation devices using a smartwatch has been around for several years, Samsung, seeing that many households own a diverse range of brands and technology platforms, has extended Galaxy watch compatibility beyond the Samusung/SmartThings ecosystem, allowing owners of Nest cameras and Ring doorbells to monitor their devices from their watches. While these tech platforms have previously been compatible with SmartThings, the new Galaxy watch integration adds a new level of convenience and useability for owners of these devices.

The NPD Take:

  • Samsung is emphasizing convenience with this new update, allowing users to control more devices (SmartThings app for Galaxy watch already supports Smart TVs, air conditioners, lights, and speakers).
  • Integrations with two of the smart home’s biggest brands - Google and Amazon - is an effort at boosting the Galaxy Watch’s useability as a home controller. This news will be embraced by current Galaxy Watch owners as it unifies more components of the Samsung/SmartThings ecosystem.
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