Despite the growing popularity of smart home devices, consumers are struggling with the complexity of the technology, according to a Support.com survey of more than 3,000 U.S. consumers.
The report found almost a third (31 percent) of smart home owners struggle with the complexity of on-boarding and ongoing support of smart home systems, and 43 percent of potential buyers are concerned about the complexity of installing and connecting smart home devices.
Meanwhile, more than two-thirds (67 percent) of potential buyers say the cost to buy, set up and maintain a smart home system is the number one barrier to purchasing smart home devices or systems.
Nearly eight in 10 consumers surveyed say that the cost to buy, set up and maintain either an individual device or an entire smart home system would be the most frustrating aspect of owning a smart home system.
“While this opens up the opportunity for providers to handle in-house professional installation, consumers are still price-sensitive and still prefer to set up these systems on their own and without an in-home visit,” the report noted. “Brands should consider addressing the complexity by providing self-guided support, or easy remote access to professional support assistance for their customers.”
Of potential smart home device buyers, 39 percent said they would rather install, connect and setup all the devices and services on their own and save the money, while 22 percent would not buy a smart home system because they perceive it would be too complicated to install and set up on their own.
In addition, 61 percent of smart home owners want to fix issues on their own and are frustrated if they can’t, but 43 percent of potential buyers said they are willing to pay a one-time fee for professional installation.
The most common installations for smart home owners are home entertainment systems (74 percent) and security systems (46 percent).
Potential smart home buyers are most interested in smart devices for safety and security (43 percent); energy efficiency (58 percent), and in the convenience of having multiple devices connected in a system (47 percent).
Of current smart home device owners, 25 percent do not trust that device manufacturers are implementing sufficient security in smart home devices and 41 percent want to resolve security or privacy issues on their own.
With 37 percent of smart home owners saying that they installed their devices on their own, the survey indicated that early adopters may have more confidence in dealing with the complexity of smart homes.
“To increase consumer adoption of smart home devices, technology brands and service providers need to consider the entire experience throughout each phase of the customer journey,” the report concluded. “Companies need to make it explicitly clear to their customers who is responsible for resolving issues and how to obtain support. Brands need to tailor their smart home support solutions to the customer’s needs and preferences.”