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Smart Home Revolution: The Future of Eco-Friendly, AI-Driven Appliances

Home appliances are revolutionizing domestic life. They are now offering seamless connectivity and advanced automation for enhanced convenience and efficiency. With advancements in smart technology, expect more and more appliances that seamlessly integrate into interconnected homes, offering unprecedented automation and customization.

More and more manufacturers and consumers are beginning to focus on appliances that can reduce energy and water waste. The newer generation of consumers is extremely eco-friendly and much more mindful of the problems of the planet.

From my over three decades of experience handling electronics, mobiles and appliances and studying current trends, I believe two key technologies are likely to shape the future of home appliances more and more – a) Combination of AI and IOT, and b) Brushless Direct Current Motors (BLDC)

Most smart devices are based on a combination of AI and IOT technologies. Such technologies make it easy for consumers to communicate with the devices remotely. One’s home lighting or AC can  turn ‘ON’ automatically before one returns home, or our smart fan can adjust its speed per our customized settings during night-time. All such features are the gift of these modern-day technologies.

Brushless Direct Current Motors end up saving a lot more energy. Since these motors are brushless, they utilize maximum power without wasting energy in the form of heat. Therefore, they provide more output than traditional home appliances.

Gesture control and voice activation is also the way forward.

Right from big to small home appliances, consumers are looking for smart devices for a smooth and easy user experience. From smart fans to mixer grinders and coffee machines to body care appliances, AI is integrated into many devices to give scalable and personalized experiences to consumers.

With increased awareness regarding environmental issues, it is imperative that technology start focusing on energy-efficient and sustainable appliances. The power consumption of energy-star-rated appliances is less, and so are the green-house gas emissions. One gets to see a lot of advancement in the material and design of appliances. However, much more care needs to be taken to reduce the environmental impact of disposal and manufacturing.

As technology advances and startups continue to disrupt the space with innovative products, the trend of smart appliances will only gain momentum. Larger companies will follow suit, and smart appliances will eventually become a staple in homes worldwide. For tech-savvy individuals, working couples with busy schedules and small families, smart appliances will provide valuable assistance without the need for hiring expensive help.

The ultimate vision is a fully automated home, where smart appliances collaborate seamlessly to manage chores and daily tasks independently and revolutionize our lives. From managing our energy consumption to optimizing cooking processes, these innovative devices enhance convenience and efficiency. Embracing the era of smart appliances promises a future where household chores are effortlessly managed, leaving us with more opportunities to enjoy life to the fullest.

Premiumization is a trend which is gaining global momentum, be it in housing, cars, appliances, mobiles, electronics or any product category. There is a certain percentage of users who are not shying away from paying extra for better experience, convenience, connectivity and energy efficiency. As newer and more energy-efficient products emerge, not only is there a growing new market, there is also a strong replacement market for older appliances.

Over the long term, caution needs to be exercised as premiumization may turn out to be a difficult strategy to keep up forever.

Industry stakeholders will need to debate between sustainability and technology leadership strategies in the appliances market. Sustainability is not only a buzzword; it is everyone’s responsibility to save our planet for future generations. Hence, many manufacturing industries keep this in mind while designing their products, and consumers prefer to buy sustainable products because of the increase in awareness.

Sustainability is no longer optional for companies if they want continued access to markets. Many countries are mandating that manufacturers comply with carbon mandates. This is done to prevent companies from outsourcing their carbon footprint.

The EU’s Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism (CBAM), coming into force in 2026, will require importers to the EU to purchase certificates to cover the cost of their emissions at the same level as EU manufacturers.

However, strangely the appliance industry is still largely focused on selling hardware. Service, as understood in this industry, typically means the maintenance, repair or replacement of appliances.

I believe this relationship needs to be re-looked at seriously. It should be focused on specific services that consumers want, such as personalized health and enhanced experiences. Investing in services requires a different mindset and business model. An entire ecosystem of partners and delivery systems, payment systems could be built. Instead of one-off sales, for premium products, services could typically come through a subscription-based plan, with recurring payments and services via mobile apps. The new generation is already used to such models via their mobiles.

Services also have the specific benefit of being highly profitable and are recurring. Nobody looks forward to their next appliance repair.

There are many brands which operate and sell under one global brand name, while some organizations opt for multiple brands under their umbrella. There is no right or wrong answer. It depends on the context and the strategic direction and the tactics which are used on the ground to enable companies to maximize the benefits of whatever direction they choose.

For now, the low-to-mid category brands and new entrants have to re-work their strategies while giving initial push through online channels and also targeting smaller towns.

Competition from unorganized players will always pose a significant challenge for consumer durables brands. In this particular category, after the growth of online, gray players often offer low-cost alternatives imported from other countries with untested quality standards. These players undercut companies that adhere to quality standards. Such products pose a major hazard and risk.

All in all, the next few years look good though margins will remain under pressure and inflationary pressures may slow-down the growth of premiumization.

 

(The author is NIRANJAN GIDWANI, CONSULTANT DIRECTOR | MEMBER UAE SUPERBRANDS COUNCIL | CHARTER MEMBER TIE DUBAI | HBR ADVISORY COUNCIL, and the views expressed in this article are his own)