New market analysis shows that tech companies pushing smart home devices like connected thermostats and light bulbs have some work to do before interest expands beyond early adopters.
Technology for technology’s sake has been the death rattle of many a project, and despite the rise of the Internet of Things, it appears for now that the public has little interest in smart home devices.
Companies like Google and Samsung are pushing the home smart device market hard with investments in Nest and Dropcam, respectively, but consumer demand for such devices is lagging, according to analysis by Argus Insights. In May 2015, consumer interest in smart and connected home devices like thermostats, light bulbs, locks and sensors dropped for the first time in 12 months.
One Argus Insights analyst suggested that while early adopters are driving the market to some extent, mass appeal suffers because many of these devices are complicated and difficult to install and use. Wearable devices, by contrast, were mentioned 10 times more frequently in conversations over social media, according to analysis by the company.
In the early days of smart home devices, the promise of convenience and an easier life is soon broken when a consumer can’t get past the installation phase. The wide number of devices, standards and platforms is also confusing to consumers, analysts found.
"Consumers are not seeing the value yet from these home automation devices," said John Feland, CEO and founder of Argus Insights. "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."