IPO Corner: The Smart Home Experience

It’s the future… you’re excited, today is the day you move into your new apartment. Downsizing is popular and you’ve decided to take the plunge. You have sold your large, hard to care for home and are moving into an apartment. You’ll travel with the extra money and enjoy a maintenance staff rather than shelling out thousands of your own dollars for a new ridge vent or yard repairs after a big storm… you approach the welcome mat, open your phone, and an application helps you unlock the door of your new abode.

You use your phone to open the smart lock, walk through the door, and the lights come on. You’re greeted by the perfect temperature and futuristic, stylish everything. You walk through to the kitchen, your favorite spot… everything is smart, voice activated, and seamless. From the trash can… to the thermostat and the stove. It’s like something out of a movie, but it’s not. It’s real.

But what if this wasn’t the future… what if this was the now? At one time, the total smart home experience was very cost prohibitive, and not within reach of most Americans. That has changed drastically. Not only is total connectivity a possibility at reasonable price points to consumers now, but landlords are beginning to convert units to smart living spaces to meet demand, save money, and modernize. This future is already here and it’s more accessible than ever.

Market Opportunity

In 2021, the global smart home market size was valued at $62.69 billion and is expected to balloon to $537.01 billion by 2030. As the world works through the challenges posed by rapid warming and a more erratic climate, one way we’ll work to save energy and tackle waste is through efficiency. Smart home devices will be instrumental in that department, through better monitoring and management, less can be used and waste can be reduced.

Several segments within the market are expected to dominate and explode, the security and surveillance application segment, for instance… which is booming, accounting for the highest revenue share, around 31.0%… we see this due to an increased demand for smart window sensor alarms, burglar alarms, and security cameras. Energy management will also see substantial growth, which will be facilitated by support from regulatory bodies for smart grid technologies.

We can put computer chips in just about anything these days… once a chip is embedded into something, and has become “smart”, and it is then known as an internet of things (IoT) device. These “smart” devices are connected at all times, collect and share data, and help humans in their everyday tasks. And this is great… but good luck trying to get your Google Home, Amazon Alexa, and Apple HomeKit to work together. But, no worries, a fix has been proposed… called the Matter Standard.

Formerly Project Chip, Matter is a unified protocol being developed to bring all smart home devices together to foster interoperability. Right now, IoT devices must be connected to work… Matter looks to eliminate that and allow devices to work offline. The standard will go hand-in-hand with standards such as Thread, a low-powered mesh-based wireless protocol, and first-generation devices built for the standard are already rolling out, as are software updates for devices.

Deals To Watch

In this space, we’re zeroing in on Intelligent Living Application Group and HomeSmart Holdings… both are forward-thinking, and we’re excited. Intelligent Living Application Group (ILAG) creates and sells high quality locks to customers primarily in the United States and Canada. The company holds the ISO9001 quality assurance certificate, and multiple other accredited quality and safety certificates, including the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Grade 2 and Grade 3 standards. They know the lock business.

The company has been around since 2000 and, while they initially worked on mechanical locks, they see the way of the future, and have thrown substantial funds into the research and development of smart locks to meet increasing, evolving customer demand. The company just made its debut on the Nasdaq last month, raising $20.24 million through the sale of 5,060,000 ordinary shares at a price of $4.00 per share.

Down here at $3.60, you can see how well it’s done so far. Not for us. At least not yet.

HomeSmart Holdings, which was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, does not directly manufacture smart home products. Rather, the company provides a software platform for residential real estate agents in the United States. Seeing the winds in the market, and an increase in demand for seamless home buying in the real estate space, they grabbed the opportunity to solve this problem through integrated real estate solutions, which are available to agents, brokerages, franchisees, and consumers.

What’s special about the company is their unifying platform… their “smart” end-to-end consumer experience, which connects each stage of the real estate transaction process through virtual tours, marketing, document management, and process tracking. The platform, which provides management tools for brokers and agents across 47 states, has just filed for an IPO and aims to raise $100 million. By positioning themselves at the center of the real estate process, they are poised to revolutionize the space through making the real estate process “smart”.

Will it be the utopia of smart tech that we’ve been promised, the epitome of the lap of luxury… a home that runs itself and caters to your whims? Or, will it be dystopia, where a failure in internet service means you can’t cook dinner in your oh so smart oven? Once gone, will we discover that those tasks which we find mundane, we really miss? So many questions… luckily, we’ll be back next week to explore these and more. Come back, explore with us!