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Sensors and Sensing Modules for Smart Homes and Buildings 2017

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Turning homes and buildings into sensitive machines for living in

Smart homes and buildings: The “Trojan Horse” strategy

To achieve greener and more secure homes and buildings requires a shift in sensing from today’s basic functions such as turning light switches on or off to more advanced functions. Three main drivers are currently leading the smart buildings market:


  1. Better energy control. With 40% of the world’s energy used for buildings, mostly for heating in residential and lighting in commercial, this is a very strong driver.
  2. Increased security with detection of intrusion, fires and seismic activity.
  3. Better comfort for occupants with sensor modules or hubs like those manufactured by Google/Nest, Fibaro, Smarthings, Canary, and Elgato Eve. They generally include 1-10 sensors, an energy source and a wireless module.

The home and building supply chain is a very complex one, highly fragmented, with closely interleaved industries. The important question today is: Who is and will be best positioned to enter the smart homes and buildings market?

As shown in the figure 1, there are three families of “building blocks” that are crucial for connected and automated smart homes and buildings:

  • Sensors: packaged sensing dies detecting environmental conditions such as temperature, pressure, humidity and air quality , etc…
  • Modules: suppliers are involved in the main functions required in homes and buildings: Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC), lighting and surveillance. They are also building management system (BMS) suppliers.
  • Gateway: this is the interface with homes and buildings, such as voice or 3D gesture recognition. It involves new developments in sensing, artificial intelligence, and human-machine interfaces.

We believe module and gateway makers are best positioned to enter the smart homes and buildings market. Temperature control is critical for HVAC and thus reducing building power consumption, which an important trend. As HVAC is installed in more new buildings, it is the perfect opportunity for adding more sensors, intelligence and interfaces.

Lighting modules are present everywhere and are placed to allow optimal light diffusion. Thus, they are good “Trojan horses” for integrating more functions. This can also promote Li-Fi transmission, which transports data by encoding it in light flashes that are invisible to people. However, issues like local temperature heating and module integration need to be solved.

Gateways require new interfaces and artificial intelligence. GAFAM (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft), Samsung and LG are well positioned to propose new services as well and to use sensor information in a valuable way for sale to other parties.

Entering the smart home and building market through different building blocks Yole report 

Smart homes and buildings: A fierce competitive landscape

We are currently at the very beginning of the smart homes and buildings adoption curve. Although this market is very promising, there are still strong barriers today. These include limited consumer demand and long device replacement cycles. Too many standards and devices with interoperability issues also make it difficult for consumers to set up and control multiple devices.

The home and buildings market has a very complex and fragmented supply chain, from suppliers of raw materials like concrete to software and IT companies like IBM and Cisco that are entering the game. Competition is particularly tough between BMS players and GAFAMs.

Building control manufacturers are traditional candidates for the adoption of sensors for smart buildings. On the other side, GAFAMs and IT players bring intelligence throughout the supply chain by offering to connect software and solutions. These companies are entering the race for Artificial Intelligence to analyze the huge amounts of data that will come from smart homes and buildings. These players are well-positioned to extract value from the data and provide new services to end customers. By selling their product to consumers via the internet, these players bypass traditional building channels.

But other companies in the supply chain will play a role as well. Although they are far from the electronics, raw materials suppliers have started thinking how to add intelligence to construction materials for extra functionalities. Energy providers are now increasingly aware about home electricity, water and gas consumption thanks to smart meter implementation all over the world. Thanks to internet gateways, internet service providers and telecoms firms have an entry point in homes, to gather numerical information on consumer behavior. Software development is also critical, both for analyzing huge data flows and extracting value from it. Household appliance suppliers will benefit from sensor developments and associated software to offer smart home appliances. However these companies will be more focused on “peripheral” systems, such as smart vacuum cleaners and home robots, than on home and building automated and connected systems. Companies like Samsung or LG are special cases as they are both household appliance suppliers and IT companies. And of course, sensor makers are entering this business and many startups have been created to offer connected sensor-based modules.

Competitive landscape Yole report 

An emerging market

Sensors market for smart homes and buildings Yole report

The smart home and building market is a segment of the global Internet of Things market with interesting details. Sensors and sensor modules are critical elements for smart homes and buildings, as they will collect data. We estimate the sensor market for smart homes and buildings will be $1.73B by 2022, when there will be 980M units shipped in total. Sensor diffusion will allow commercialization of subscriptions and services, which we estimate will be $11B by 2022. Smart homes will also contribute to the growth of voice-activated personal assistants. In 2016, Amazon shipped 4 million Alexa systems including 1 million during December 2016.

The report includes detailed market segmentation, providing ideas and scenario for market adoption.

Smart modules 2016 market shares Yole report 

Objectives of the Report

This report’s objectives are to:

  • To offer a deep understanding of the smart home and building value chain, infrastructure, and players, including:
    • Descriptions of the supply chain and driving forces
    • An extensive global list of sensor manufacturers and key integrators
    • An industrial chain breakdown
    • Strategies of the different players
  • To provide market data on sensors for smart homes and buildings with key market metrics and dynamics, including:
    • 2016-2022 unit shipments and revenue by sensor type
    • 2016 market share
  • To analyze the major technology trends, including:
    • The expected evolution of current technologies
    • Insights into the different type of sensors
    • The major bottlenecks to overcome


Table of contents

About the author 3

Report objectives 4

Who should be interested in this report? 6

Methodologies and definitions 7

Companies cited in this report 8

Executive summary 9

Introduction, definition and methodology 39

Market forecast  68

Sensors for smart homes and buildings  82

> Microphones … 84
> Infra-red sensors … 94
> Chemical and particle sensors … 109
> Temperature sensors … 126
> Pressure sensors … 129
> Ambient light sensors and CMOS Image Sensors … 132
> Other sensors ... 137


























Industrial ecosystem  140

Player market shares  156

GAFAMs and IT players strategies  159

Importance of protocols and software … 171

Energy sources  180

Conclusions  184

Appendices  188





















Companies cited

Elgato Eve
Johnson Control

SGX Sensortech
Speck Sensors
and many more







































  • Focus on sensors, modules and gateways for automated connected homes and buildings
  • 24 different sensors analyzed
  • Description of the current smart home and building ecosystem and analysis of possible future strategies
  • Overview of the supply chain and player positioning from raw materials suppliers to IT players
  • Overview of all possible types of sensors and services that could be used in smart homes and buildings and forecasts in units and value
  • Description by sensor type and function, including energy control, comfort, and security