Who Is Programming The Smart Home?
Written by Janet Swift   
Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Although Smart Home solutions currently only appeal to early adopters and have still to be adopted on a mass market scale, close to 1.5 million developers are already involved in this market sector.

This finding comes from Vision Mobile in a spin-off report The Smart Home Landscape 2015 based on its latest bi-annual survey, which had more than 13,000 respondents.  

Over 3000 devs from this group are Internet of Things developers and in terms of app poverty, which is a major focus of Vision Mobile's main Developer Economics State of the Developer Nation Q3 2015, they are the worst off. Even though the App poverty line is set at only $500 per month, 59% of IoT devs fall below it.



Another problem for those interested in developing for the Internet of Things revealed in the survey is knowing what the target audience is with 26% of IoT developers "Not sure" who they are building solutions for:



Among IoT developers Smart Home is the most popular market with over a 1000 of those surveyed being involved in it. Compared to other IoT developers, Smart Home devs lean towards hardware rather than software with 36% focus building new devices, compared to 24% among those in other IoT vertical markets.  




The other interesting difference between Smart Home developers and those in the remaining IoT sectors is the type of developer it attracts. In its Developer Economics series of reports Vision Mobile has identified distinct groups of app developers according to the revenue models they use and as far as IoT devs are concerned has defined the following 8 groups:

Hobbyists Moonlighters building their own IoT solutions to learn and to have fun
Explorers  Independent developers gaining experience as a side project to seize on future opportunities
Hunters Experienced devs building an IoT business, focused on making money from device sales apps or services
Guns for
Seasoned Professionals developing IoT solutions on commission



Companies using IoT technology to promote or extend non-IoT products
Optimisers Engineers and systems integrators using IoT to increase organisational efficiency and reduce cost
Data Brokers

Companies that monetise digital content or data


IoT startups aiming to hit gold.



As this chart shows those involved in Smart Home development are predominantly doing it either as a hobby (36%) or as a side project. (32%) leaving only 30% working in a professional capacity. This finding tends to mitigate the high level of app poverty among this group since they are not necessarily concerned about making a living from it. As the Smart Home sector matures this is probably something that will change.

At the moment what drives devs into the Smart Home area is the lack of any good off the shelf solutions that do exactly what they want and in the way that they want to do it. Many have the software skills to create custom solutions and spend time learning about hardware. 

On the other hand the fact that Smart Home devs are tinkerers creating one-off solutions echos problems that seems endemic to the the Internet of Things in general - the lack of coherent standards and a proliferation of closed solutions that duplicate each other.



More Information

The Smart Home Landscape 2015

Developer Economics State of the Developer Nation Q3 2015

Related Articles

Amazon's AWS IoT - Another IoT Backend

Why The Internet Of Things Has A Problem 

Cloud Apps Best For Revenue 

Revenue Models for Mobile Developers


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