INSIGHTS | Smart home firms scramble to lock in users

4 min read
Xiaomi’s smart kitchen in its Beijing headquarters on Oct 30, 2019. (Image credit: TechNode/Coco Gao)

For years, tech firms have argued that the era of the “smart home” is here. Hardware makers and internet companies have all stepped up efforts to try to grab a slice of this multi-billion-dollar market, going up against traditional white goods giants.

However, their efforts to gain market share have resulted in a fragmented market, in which multiple ecosystems exist that are incompatible with each other. Not only does this restrict their growth, but it also impacts users’ choices.

Smart homes are not like smartphones—it’s all about building ecosystems. To dominate the market, players need to aim for industry-wide standards and build a hub compatible with devices made by other players.

What it is a lot like is mobile phone operating systems, in which most applications are built around two monopolistic systems—Android and iOS. In the

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