Consumers are experiencing challenges in the purchase, installation, configuration and support process for smart home devices and systems, according to a report from Argus Insights.
The survey indicated that even before purchasing connected devices, consumers are already expressing concerns about having to return products or being able to install and configure devices before the return date expires.
"The hurdles that are standing in the way of broader smart home technology adoption center around price sensitivities for the more mainstream market segments and around the complexity of properly installing and connecting different smart home devices," Alex Poulos, vice president of marketing for Support.com, told eWEEK. "Concerns about this complexity are spreading to potential buyers. Our new study shows that even before they purchase products, consumers are worried about the expected returns and tech support issues they'll face after purchasing a smart home system."
Poor support experience with other consumer electronics devices in the past is also causing consumers to delay purchases of new smart home devices or systems until the need has become essential, such as a home safety or security system.
In addition, while consumers want to purchase and install smart home systems on their own, the survey indicated they are strongly considering professional services for installation, despite the additional cost.
"We recently surveyed consumers and found that one in four smart home owners do not trust that device manufacturers are implementing sufficient security in each of the smart home devices," Poulos said. "Various manufacturers and providers within the smart home ecosystem are working together, through organizations like the Online Trust Alliance, to create tighter security standards."
He noted original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and service providers should also be looking at the right onboarding and support strategies to help consumers install, configure and maintain their smart homes to properly safeguard personal information.
"The smart home market will evolve with more devices being introduced, but more companies will move beyond features and functionality to focus on the entire customer experience," Poulos said. "Smart homes are the most mainstream manifestation of IoT. The inherent complexity in its early adoption is going to be the trigger that forces companies to redefine the role that support plays with the overall customer experience."
The report, "Smart Home Trends for 2016—An Analysis of Consumer Sentiment", is based on research conducted by Argus Insights for Support.com, and was derived from an analysis of more than 113,000 consumer online reviews and social media conversations on the topic of smart homes and home automation occurring in the past two years.