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​CES 2012 was notable for the shift taking place in the home automation booths and displays. In years past, there was a growing crescendo of home automation activity, as represented by the growing numbers of home automation-specific vendors and the growing size of the floor space devoted specifically to M2M. The wave seems to have crested: Control4, which had in previous years served as a key anchor-tenant, providing a huge venue for a large number of its key partners, stayed off the show floor this year. The ZigBee, Z-Wave, and HomePlug Powerline Alliance booths all seemed smaller this year, with fewer companies (and fewer varieties of applications) on display.

(Note: I was contacted by the ZigBee Alliance on 2/1/12 in response to this blog post and provided with the following clarification: "The ZigBee Alliance pavilion actually had more ZigBee Certified products on display than last year, was the same physical size/number of member pods as the past two years, and had the same applications as last year.")

These should not necessarily be taken as a warning sign for the home automation industry in general, however, which continues to grow at remarkable rates. Rather, this year’s CES highlights the growing maturity of the overall home automation market. Control4 met with its customers and partners in suites off the show floor – it likely feels less need to create market awareness either for itself or the home automation market, given the company’s overall growth. Likewise, while home automation-specific companies and floor space may have declined, there was much more evidence of “monitoring and control” technologies being integrated into a wide variety of home systems and devices, such a door locks from Schlage and dishwashers from LG. Essentially, we’re moving from a specialized market with its own area of the show floor, to a more mainstream technology embedded into products and services all throughout the show floor.

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