• Smart Home Technology
  • The Smart Home
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  • Connected Home
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Smart Home Disappointment Will Hinder Adoption

Krystal Maxwell
Apr 26, 2019

Smart Home

The growth of Internet of Things (IoT) solution offerings has flooded the smart home industry market with new connected devices, including smart lighting, smart thermostats, voice assistance, smart surveillance and security, and robotic vacuums, to name a few. Consumers are offered a plethora of smart home devices with multiple opinions and list after list on the best smart home devices available. Despite the overabundance of available products, adoption in smart home technologies is still limited. While cost can be one of the largest barriers to adoption, meeting consumer expectations is another leading barrier, as discussed in Navigant Research’s Residential IoT Market Overview report.

Misalignment in Expectations and Reality

Smart home devices offer unique value propositions from energy savings to safety and security to convenience depending on the device and application. Smart home products need to function as promised, or the various value propositions will be worth little. Given the infancy of the market, many consumers will purchase one or two devices before committing to a fully smart home. The smart home experience is based on the integration of devices. Even with communication standards allowing for connections among devices from different manufacturers, the experience often falls short of consumer expectations.

Whether it be in a discussion with colleagues, family, or friends, most people have a story to tell of frustration and disappointment in smart home technology failing to meet expectations. Pairing smart lighting with a voice assistant device only to have that functionality fail after a few months and need to be re-paired or spending hours on the phone with customer support for setup of lights that were touted as a plug-and-play will lead to frustration and ultimately disinterest in these solutions and new offerings. I know because I’ve been through this in my own home.

New Construction Standards Are Not Enough

Although smart homes have become an expected standard in new construction, this expectation has not permeated existing single or multifamily homes. A recent post (by Navigant Research’s Neil Strother) discusses this growing trend in new construction, which is validated by leading US home builders such as Meritage Homes, Lennar, and Pulte. While an impressive number of consumers have adopted these technologies in their existing homes, having a voice assistant with the addition of one or two connected devices falls short of the potential of the smart home market.

A Need to Do Better

In order to increase the adoption of the number of devices each household deploys, or to increase adoption in households without any smart home devices, the standard for meeting expectations needs to improve and remain high. Smart home technology cannot function as expected merely most of the time. Any products not functioning as advertised will further delay adoption of smart home technologies. This is true even for setup, and if the device isn’t operating as advertised the majority of the time. Smart home vendors need to improve the integration of devices and ensure the promised simplicity of these devices before their release for the alignment of expectations and the reality of how these devices function.