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Why Aren't People Getting Excited About the Connected Home?

By Stefania Viscusi June 17, 2015

Imagining a future where people and machines communicate with each other to make life easier isn’t so far-fetched today. Thanks to constant technological improvements and the work being done in the Internet of Things (IoT) space, things like cars that drive themselves and irrigation systems that can water crops at just the right time, are already in place.

While so much excitement is being built around the potential for this technology to transform the future, a new report shows consumers aren’t totally on the bandwagon just yet.

One would think having a hot cup of coffee ready and brewed for you when you wake up, or coming home to a warm toasty house while cutting down energy costs would be enough to convince consumers of the great things M2M technology brings.  However, while home automation devices are hot topics, interest in them is dropping quickly.

A new report from Argus Insights points to a drop in the market from just a year ago and cites things like frustration with setting up these devices as reasons for consumers to start losing interest.

For companies offering IoT solutions, this is perhaps a red flag to work on easier to use solutions to help turn the ship around.

Companies like Nest and Dropcam have done well to excite the market but may need to do more as far as plug-and-play and ‘set-it-and-forget-it’ goes, with their offerings.

“Based on our review of consumer interest, the state of home automation in 2015 is not looking good for anyone who sells or makes these devices,” said John Feland, CEO and founder, Argus Insights. “Even though Google and Samsung made big purchases in this space by buying Nest thermostats, Dropcam and the suite of SmartThings products demand is stagnating. It is obvious that the early adopters have bought what they want and other consumers are expressing frustration that these products are complicated and difficult to set up and use.”

Image via Shutterstock

While security cameras are still holding the most attention in the space, they too were seen dropping in interest. Research respondents pointed mostly to reliability problems with security cameras that either stopped working or didn’t easily connect to the home network, and led them to return the item.

Another part of the problem is that consumers are actually not even sure what products they want or need. While a tech item might look cool, does it do enough to convince consumers WHY they need it in their lives? This might be key in getting more people interested in connected home solutions rather than just the first adopters who have most likely already made their purchases.

“Consumers are not seeing the value yet from these home automation devices,” said Feland. “There is a lot of confusion about standards with Google introducing Brillo and Apple’s new HomeKit. Add in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave, and there is a lot for any consumer to grapple with during installation. Until things become easier and consumers don’t have to cobble together a total solution, I believe we will continue to see this stagnation continuing for the rest or 2015 unless a new offering addresses these issues and revitalizes the market.”




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino
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