Smart home tech is becoming increasingly mainstream with the introduction of devices such as Google Home and Alexa. Despite this, hurdles still remain before there can be true mass-market adoption.
An article in information-age.com points out that smart home technology is a lucrative market and that it’s been predicted a typical family home will have more than 500 smart home devices by 2022. Currently, the market is moving from the early adoption stage towards mass-market buyers and the article highlights the fact that manufacturers need to focus more on building long-term visibility and trust in consumers rather than merely relying on being new and innovative. For this to happen, manufacturers need to prioritize privacy matters as well as security and issues of interoperability between products. One of the main factors that need to be addressed is the simplicity of use.
The majority of homeowners just want to open up the box and have the device work instantly without the need for complex setup instructions. This means manufacturers need to find ways to simplify product setup and connectivity, as products that have reputation for being tricky to install are likely to be less marketable. To address this, manufacturers have considered the higher than normal returns for certain connected home products and are introducing programs to help provide consumers with more support in installing and setting up smart technology. Once a product is set up, it still needs to offer ease-of-use.
As the article says, conventional home objects such as thermostats, coffee makers, and door locks aren’t necessarily inconvenient to use which means smart home manufacturers need to work hard for homeowners to be able to justify the expense of investing in smart home tech, proving it has real value for the consumer.
One ongoing problem is that of security and whether once a home is connected it becomes vulnerable to cyber attacks. Designing products to not only initially eliminate these flaws but also to accommodate future fixes is essential. Privacy is perhaps an even bigger issue, particularly where devices can store sensitive personal data and manufacturers must demonstrate that this data will be kept safe and protected.