26 October 2012 – Increased government regulations in the smart homes arena could help shape the future of the smart homes market says Smart Homes 2012 director Ed Butler. In the run-up to the Smart Homes eventthat was held in Amsterdam in October 2012 Butler said, “Though we may not predict what ingenious new gadgets will emerge, it may be possible to set down a regulatory framework with appropriate targets and subsidies which can train entrepreneurialism and innovation. We have all witnessed the transformative effect regulation has had in Europe on cleaning up the energy industry.”

According to Butler the home of the future can become a repository for energy storage, a means to balance the grid and to consume energy more efficiently. “There is scant regulatory requirement about the need to ensure the inter-appliance connectivity of the home. Yet by enacting this, governments could perhaps take a lead in catalysing the development of the smart home and in so doing help to realise national carbon reduction targets.”

However, when gauged, many of the industry experts who spoke at Smart Homes felt that the market functioned best without government interference. Morten Bremild, owner and founder of Axelerate in Denmark, says, “If governments take on the mandate of regulating the smart home, everything will freeze.”

In describing the way forward Bremild sees the process ahead more like a walk through fog. “We can only see the path a few meters ahead, but it reveals itself as we take the next steps. Consequently, the important thing is not the future state of the industry (the vision), but the direction of the industry.  And the direction right now is innovative connectivity platform solutions and not regulated smart homes.”

Butler agrees that the market functions best when unshackled by burdensome regulation. “But it remains for the government to help shape the market arena, provide financial prompts, leadership and even coercion at times.”