3 Steps the Smart Home Industry Needs to Take Before Going Mainstream

December 10, 2015

11:00 am

IoT technology is steadily penetrating into our lives and our homes in particular. With the recent launch of the HomeKit by Apple and Google’s $3 billion acquisition of Nest, the smart home industry is definitely experiencing a major acceleration.

While some investors consider the IoT investment potential to be overblown, the recent global research by Tata Consultancy Services said that 7 percent of the surveyed companies were planning to make over $500 million on IoT investments just in 2015 with home automation startups standing high on the purchase agenda, especially with big name companies like Samsung, Microsoft and Google.

As the interest levels continue to grow at the companies’ level, most consumers don’t feel equally excited about adopting the smart home technologies too soon. According to a recent report by Forrester, one-third of consumers expressed their interest in purchasing smart home technology, but only 1-2 percent of those currently own home devices that control climate, energy and lighting; or have a complex home monitoring systems created.

To bridge the gap between the market hype and actual consumer behavior companies should focus more on taking the following 3 steps to foster mass- market adoption.

1. Make Smart Technology Less Smart

Here’s the deal – most modern home automation solutions appear too techy and complicated for an average consumer, especially when it comes to setting them up and programming the optimal cycles. Most people don’t want 7 different apps to manage 7 different devices. They want one elegant solution to handle it all with just a few taps when it comes to enabling their smart home.

Currently, there’s no way a customer can actually experience the product before making a purchase and installing it, meaning mass market retail is going to be the key sales channel for the smart home technology. The result: most consumers feel highly discouraged with the overall complexity of smartifying their homes.

2. Put Security and Privacy on Top of the Agenda

After the recent series of cyber crimes and major data leaks, consumers are concerned with their data privacy and security more than ever. They understand that without bulletproof protection mechanisms in place, hackers could get easy access to their entire smart home ecosystem and tons of private data.

Security should come as the number one concern of all smart home product developers. This includes educating potential consumers about different hazards and required security measures, creating a transparent data policy and obviously creating a multi layer security protection both at the device and platform level.

3. Make Different IoT Technologies More Interoperable

The main appeal of IoT devices is that they should seamlessly interact with one another. However, when it comes to building your smart home ecosystem, most likely you’ll have the deal with incompatibility of devices created by different manufacturers, or purchase all the technologies from the same manufacturer.

If smart home technology wants to seize mass market, the manufactures will need to cooperate and set up the industry standards, which all technology providers could follow. Just like any other mass market, smart home market should offer a choice to the buyers, while assuring them that all technologies can interoperate efficiently.

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Dianna is a former ESL teacher and World Teach volunteer, currently living in France. She's slightly addicted to apps and viral media trends and helps different companies with product localization and content strategies. You can tweet her at @dilabrien

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