For those of you who have been to see the latest James Bond movie, I'm sure you will all have noticed Q's newest fantastical creation from the boys in the lab - 'Smart Blood' - which enables MI6 to track the super spy across the globe.
I don't want to sound like a cynic, but I have a similar and more humble gadget embedded under my dog's fur which allows him to be easily found if he, like Bond, were to take an unauthorized adventure, although probably not as far as Rome.
That product wasn’t made by Britain’s finest and didn’t cost a small fortune.
Of course, the world's most famous spook has to go one better with his futuristic plasma – if Bond had simply been tagged it might have made him come across as a criminal, and his License to Kill seems to operate as an all-purpose get-out-of-jail-free card in Ian Fleming’s fictional universe.
The very fact that the screenwriters included devices identified as 'Smart' rather than as generic gadgets says something about how connected products are pervading our lives and capturing our collective imagination; it could have easily been called ‘Traceable Blood’ or something to that effect.
Take the Smart Home as an example: a recent survey conducted by CONTEXT showed that 38 per cent of British consumers had heard of the term 'Smart Home', second only to German consumers whose awareness topped 40 per cent.
The situation in the channel is no less dramatic with unit sales of Smart Home products being sold through European distribution rising by over 500 per cent in the last two years; if these trends continue this market can only grow further.
As with Bond's priceless, cutting-edge claret, 31 per cent of British consumers currently believe that Smart Home products are too expensive. That being said, the best-selling smart home product category being tracked by CONTEXT across the EU is Smart Lighting.
Even if a third of consumers currently see the Smart Home as a luxury, it hasn't stopped Smart Lighting from becoming a fast growing and dominant category. Moreover, 25 per cent of British consumers said that they had purchased a Smart Thermostat for their domicile, which indicates that a quarter of all British homes now have their heating regulated by Smart Technology.
What might have once been a niche technology with limited sales-potential is now a part of the mainstream. Q's Smart thinking must be typical of the British zeitgeist, as the UK and Germany lead on EU Smart Home distribution market-share.
Smart Technology might not literally be in our blood yet, but the signs from distribution are telling us that it’s a growing part of our homes and everyday lives, and you don’t need to be a British Intelligence Officer to see the opportunities of this burgeoning market.
Jonathan Wagstaff is country manager, UK and Ireland at analyst Context.
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