With 1,000,000 smart home units produced and 20,000 people trained in Germany alone, ABB-free@home has made its mark on the home automation market.
ABB launched ABB-free@home in 2014 and added the wireless version in 2016 to expand the possibilities of the smart home. The solution makes it possible to control more than 60 functions, including lighting, heating, blinds or doors from a smartphone or tablet.
ABB-free@home opens up the home automation market to electrical installers and wholesalers. Previous home automation systems required the specialist knowledge of expert installers and distributors. The system brings smart home technology to a much wider customer base.
The units are simple and straightforward for electrical contractors to install – saving both time and money. The system connects directly to a homeowner’s Wi-Fi network and integrates a variety of smart devices to enable their personal smart home. Its switches and displays are intuitive and simple for installers to understand, meaning an installer can learn the system in only a few hours, increasing his expertise in the sector.
Tarak Mehta, president of ABB’s Electrification Products division, comments: “We have been delighted at the success of ABB-free@home. This is a great example of the benefits that people can experience in their own home through digitalisation.”
“Via the myABB Living Space portal we bring the Internet of Things into people’s homes to deliver valuable service support.”
Although definitions of the smart home market vary, as well as figures about market size and growth expectations, what they all have in common is that the market is already significant and that the industry will see at least an annual doubling in the next five years.
According to Zion market research, the global home automation market was valued at around $7bn in 2015 and is expected to reach $27bn in 2021, growing at a CAGR of around 25% between 2016 and 2021.
ABB-free@home wireless is particularly interesting for the home renovation market. The benefits of an intuitive smart home system can be enjoyed without chiseling and plaster work. For the electrical installer the system is easy and quick to implement, which supports their business as labour costs are the largest investment for a smart home upgrade.
The System Access Point enables access with PC or tablet and via an existing network or an ad-hoc connection via WLAN, the functions of the system can be easily defined and programmed, without special software. With the new radio modules, an existing wired ABB-free@home system can be expanded by up to 64 wireless components. The prerequisite for this is only the installation of the new System Access Point.
Last year, ABB introduced the intelligent voice control via the smartphone App. For example, coming home in the dark you need to simply say: “Light in the corridor, switch on”, and the light is switched on. ABB-free@home not only enables the capture and execution of voice commands via App, but also gives the user a response: “Okay, all the lights in the corridor were switched off”.
Mike Mustapha, managing director of ABB’s Building Products business, adds: “This is an exciting space to operate and we have the experts in building automation solutions working tirelessly to ensure that we build on our growth momentum through the introduction of ground breaking additional functions.
“Our aim is to make smart home living easier than ever. Bringing the benefits of the Internet of Things alive in the comfort of people’s homes.”
ABB is holding a series of customer events to celebrate the production milestone.