SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Innovations in MicroElectroMechnical Systems (MEMS), nanomaterials, and other emerging technologies are making smart homes a reality for the masses, according to Bourne Research.

The market research firm reports that more sensors than ever are being adopted by OEMs as a way to provide increased convenience to the consumer, with manufacturers of HVAC, lighting products, and white goods among the first to integrate sensors at the system level in order to remotely monitor and adjust energy usage. However, while ease-of-use and reduced energy costs are all reasons for consumers to embrace the smart home concept, novelty has its place as well, and may be what really captures customer attention.

"As evidenced from residential communities in various stages of development all around the world, smart homes currently range from marginally intelligent to fully connected," said Marlene Bourne, principal analyst with Bourne Research. "Part of the reason for its slow acceptance to this point may be that ‘smart home' implies a certain level of complexity and need for technical proficiency that most consumers aren't comfortable with. Consumer-friendly products and approaches are what will truly drive the growth of this segment, and both MEMS and nanomaterials are playing a key role here."

Bourne Research has found that many products can be easily integrated into existing home networks (or retrofit into homes without one) as wireless plug-and-play components, an ideal way of increasing a home's intelligence. For more information, visit

Publication date: 02/27/2006