The growth of the smart home continues to accelerate: according to a Berg Insights report, approximately 22.5 million homes in Europe had the technology installed by the end of 2017, with North America following closely behind with 22.3 million homes.

Where the rise of the smart home is being driven by

Garage doors automatically open when a car pulls into the driveway. Home doors unlock and open automatically after a quick scan of a fingerprint. And the command, “Alexa, turn on the lights and play the song I like to listen to,” means you”re really home tonight. That”s what people who live in smart houses expect. People appreciate the comfort these smart homes provide and buy accordingly: a new study by Berg Insights tallies about 45 million homes in Europe and North America using smart homes in 2017. Europe had 22.5 million such systems in operation, with North America following closely behind with 22.3 million. Market researchers predict that the technology will continue to grow at a strong rate until at least 2022. By then, experts predict that there will be 63 million (44%) connected homes in North America and 84 million in Europe.

Comfort, safety and energy efficiency

Smart home residents especially like having smart thermostats, lighting, cameras, air conditioners, door locks, outlets and speakers. Preferred brands include Nest, Energy, Belkin, D-Link, Assa Abloy, Haier, Sonos, Amazon and Google. North American users (42%) particularly prefer security solutions. In Europe, by contrast, households prefer classic home automation solutions such as heating and lighting applications to help save energy. Systems that residents can install themselves, such as those offered by Deutsche Telekom, eQ3 or Verisure, are also very popular. Smart speakers are also spurring significant growth in the sector, with Amazon”s Alexa and Google Home in particular gaining popularity with users. It”s easy to control lights, music and heating using voice commands, and smart speakers can also be used as a control hub for all smart home applications.

Smart Home Health Monitoring

Frost and Sullivan predicts that the smart home of the future will offer more than just comfort and convenience, and will soon help you stay healthy. How about that? Various sensors on your smartwatch, mattress or floor can monitor vital signs and movement. A smartphone may help you lower your blood sugar levels, and a toilet can even determine important readings from your urine – combined smartly, your smart home will have a basic understanding of your current health status. This data is collected over time and can describe your overall health in such detail that even the smallest changes become apparent. Health monitors can provide preventive care or help patients with chronic conditions or those who need care. For now, these IoT applications are still operating in silos, but partnerships can unite technology providers in meaningful ways and lay the foundation for an entire ecosystem. Of course, these companies need to do everything possible to protect sensitive user data and store it securely.