There was quite a bit of confusion surrounding Google's recent acquisition of smart thermostat company Nest. As usual, privacy concerns about Google "spying" on people in their own homes were brought up, but an even larger question was what exactly an internet advertising company wants with a thermostat startup.
A new report on smart thermostats could shed light on what Google's plans for Nest are. Market research firm Navigant Research today released a report showing that the market for smart, programmable thermostats could take in over $1 billion by the end of the decade. The firm estimates that smart thermostat revenue will top $1.4 billion by 2020, far more than the estimated $86 million the industry took in during 2013.
Navigant believes that current smart thermostats are limited by their ease-of-use and their limited energy savings. The firm believes that these hurdles will be passed in the coming years, with consumers embracing such technology. A move toward more home automation in general in the tech industry is also seen as a factor that could drive smart thermostat sales in the years to come.
“Large retailers, including Lowe’s and The Home Depot in the United States and B&Q in Europe, have begun selling smart thermostats, signaling that sales of these devices could grow in coming years,” said Bob Lockhart, research director at Navigant. “It remains to be seen, though, whether marketing efforts on behalf of these retailers will raise the interest of a large pool of customers who are not already planning to replace an existing thermostat.”