skip to main content
Close Icon We use cookies to improve your website experience.  To learn about our use of cookies and how you can manage your cookie settings, please see our Cookie Policy.  By continuing to use the website, you consent to our use of cookies.
Global Search Configuration

Ovum view

Amazon launches Alexa Developer Rewards program in France, Italy, and Spain

Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home

To drive user engagement, Amazon is expanding the European Alexa developer rewards program beyond the UK and Germany. It is offering support through cash incentives to encourage the developer community to design more engaging skills for Alexa. The company is particularly interested in Alexa skills that not only drive customer engagement, but also promote usage, attract new customers, and generate ratings in categories such as education and reference, food and drink, games, trivia and accessories, health and fitness, kids, and music and audio.

However, by itself, the Alexa developer rewards program doesn’t offer a consistent income source because only the most successful skills in each category receive monetary rewards. In-skill purchases (one-time or ongoing subscriptions) as well as product sales and services through Amazon Pay offer more direct and regular mechanisms to make money via Alexa skills. Amazon Pay for Alexa Skills is available in several countries across Europe, but currently only skills published in the US Alexa Skill Store can offer in-skill purchases. This limitation presents a challenge for developers outside the US if they want to capitalize the skills they create. The Alexa Skill Store has more than 80,000 skills at a worldwide level, although most of these skills focus on the US market. Amazon's efforts to expand the monetization avenues to more countries will help to balance this out in favor of markets that don’t enjoy the same level of parity in terms of the amount of skills and functionality for Alexa.

Apple adds Airplay 2 and HomeKit support to third-party TVs

Michael Philpott, Senior Practice Leader, Consumer Services

Apple has released iOS 12.2, the second major update to iOS 12, which paves the way for AirPlay 2 and HomeKit support on third-party TVs from major vendors such as LG, Sony, and Samsung. This update will enable three basic new use cases: streaming content from an iOS device directly to third-party TVs, the ability to control TVs from the HomeKit app, and the ability to control content on the TV via Siri integrated on a separate iOS device. In the past, all three of these use cases were only possible by first connecting an Apple TV device to the TV set. However, the penetration of these devices is very low and limited Apple’s influence on one of the main screens in the home. From a smart home perspective, Ovum believes the impact of this launch will be relatively small and mainly limited to being able to include the TV in Apple Home automations (such as, for example, to dim the lights when turning on the TV). However, this step does illustrate Apples willingness to be more open to third parties in its ecosystem, which will increase consumer satisfaction and reduce frustration. The company still has a long way to go however to catch up with the likes of Google and Amazon in the smart home race and really needs to speed up the level of development.

Vivint introduces Vivint Car Guard

Michael Philpott, Senior Practice Leader, Consumer Services

Vivint has launched a new service, Vivint Car Guard, that integrates smart home functionality with the connected car to create new use cases for both environments that deliver true customer value. Car Guard provides all the normal features one might expect from a modern connected car application such as car alarm notification, GPS tracking, and car maintenance monitoring, but it is the integration with Vivint’s smart home platform where in Ovum’s opinion the true value resides. Vivint is at heart a smart home security service provider and it is therefore no surprise that security is central to Vivint’s connected car strategy. By integrating the smart home and connected car platform, the application can be customized to turn on a home’s outside security lights and security cameras in the event of cars parked in the driveway been tampered with. Conversely, smart home devices can be programmed to activate based on the car’s location and state, such as turning off lights and checking all doors are locked and the house alarm is set as the car drives away. The possibilities created by new connected and smart devices are virtually endless, but finding clear, easy to understand customer benefits is often a challenge. Vivint’s new Car guard adds clear value to its smart home proposition that its customers will instantly understand and it therefore has a good chance of success.

Octopus Energy announces partnership with Amazon Alexa

Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home

Octopus Energy has launched a new skill for Amazon’s Alexa that helps customer to optimize their energy use through AI. Customers that currently have a smart meter and are using the “Agile” real-time pricing tariff will be able to manage energy consumption more efficiently via Alexa. They will rely on the AI assistant to know when it's best to undertake certain energy-intensive activities such as charging an electric car or washing clothes to maximize cheaper energy prices during off-peak periods. This initiative will certainly help customers that have smart devices to better manage their energy bills and potentially reduce their carbon emissions, encouraging others to follow the same path. However, for this market approach to work and offer more tangible financial benefits for customer, the energy industry needs also more providers willing to improve the flexibility of their tariffs. Smart time of use tariffs such as Agile from Octopus are key for this initiative to succeed. Giving AI assistants a role in this process is also important, but will only be effective in markets where energy companies reward customers for using energy during off-peak times with tariff incentives.

Russia’s pay-TV operator Tricolor launches smart home service

Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home

Service providers are continuing their quest to gain a presence in the smart home market. Russian satellite TV operator Tricolor has recently joined the smart home race with the launch of new services for home safety and monitoring. The company is offering a control module, leak/gas detectors, smart lights and door/window sensors, and other smart devices. Tricolor also plans to include cloud-based video monitoring services as part of its offering. Customers can manage their smart devices from a mobile app and TV screen. Through a set-top box software update, smart TVs can now act as an additional user interface that allows customers to control smart devices without the internet. By allowing the system to operate locally, Tricolor smart home devices don’t need an internet connection to work unless customers want to manage them remotely. When the internet is down, this feature offers an alternative interface that prevents the smart home experience from deteriorating and smart devices from becoming useless. Consequently, having network resilience options provides consumers with the reassurance that devices and services will continue to function in case of network downtime. Ovum believes that Tricolor’s market approach offers a contingency plan that tackles this pressing issue.

Appendix

Further reading

Smart Home Devices and Services Forecast: 2018–23, CES004-000076 (March 2019)

Smart Home Devices Forecast Report: 2018–23, CES004-000072 (March 2019)

Smart Home Services Forecast Report: 2018–23, CES006-000061 (March 2019)

"MWC 2019: Key Consumer and Entertainment Trends," CES004-000079 (March 2019)

"Advanced Wi-Fi Solutions for Tomorrow's Digital Home," CES006-000066 (March 2019)

Author

Mariana Zamoszczyk, Senior Analyst, Smart Home

mariana.zamoszczyk@ovum.com

Michael Philpott, Senior Practice Leader, Consumer Services

Recommended Articles

;

Have any questions? Speak to a Specialist

Europe, Middle East & Africa team: +44 7771 980316


Asia-Pacific team: +61 (0)3 960 16700

US team: +1 212-652-5335

Email us at ClientServices@ovum.com

You can also contact your named/allocated Client Services Executive using their direct dial.
PR enquiries - Email us at pr@ovum.com

Contact marketing - 
marketingdepartment@ovum.com

Already an Ovum client? Login to the Knowledge Center now