Deutsche Telekom's van Damme warns that Europe faces global threat in smart home development

Deutsche Telekom board member Niek Jan van Damme issued a rallying call to Germany and Europe to back open standards in the field of smart homes, warning that a failure to do so would see businesses in the region lose out to international rivals.

Speaking at an industry meeting arranged by Deutsche Telekom in Berlin, van Damme said collaboration between companies with differing backgrounds will be essential in developing competitive smart home services in Germany, and Europe as a whole.

"If we stick with conventional proprietary solutions in the growth market for the smart home, we're going to lose out to international providers," van Damme, Deutsche Telekom's board member responsible for innovation, warned.

Rather than seeing the variety of German and European companies currently developing smart home services as a threat, the industry needs to "recognise the diversity of technical solutions as an opportunity and use it as such," van Damme told representatives from around 150 companies that attended the meeting.

Research company Gartner gave an indication of the level of diversity currently evident in the global smart home sector in a forecast regarding the number of connections issued in August 2015. The company noted that players vying for a slice of the market today include cable, Internet, and alarm companies, along with mobile phone operating system providers.

The company noted that the lack of maturity and current lack of a good smart home business model has not deterred such companies from seeking to establish ecosystems, and predicted that the number of smart connected homes would hit between 500 million and 700 million in 2020, compared to between 100 million and 200 million when it issued its prediction in August.

Van Damme highlighted the company's QIVICON smart home platform as an example of the way diverse industry players can collaborate effectively to offer simple and reliable smart home products to consumers. The Deutsche Telekom board member also discussed Deutsche Telekom's work to incorporate smart home functionality into its routers, which the company stated will enable consumers to control smart home services directly.

The opening quarter of 2016 has already seen movement from European telecoms operators around commercial smart home services.

O2 UK got the ball rolling in January, when it announced it will begin selling AT&T-branded smart home products and services from the summer -- a move it said would ensure the UK is the first market in Europe to offer AT&T's Digital Life home management and automation platforms on a commercial basis.

KPN followed in March, when it became the first international telecoms operator to launch a connected home service using Deutsch Telekom's QIVICON platform.

For more:
- see this Deutsche Telekom release
- view this KPN announcement

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