The smart home as we know it today is where more than a few people figured the future was going, especially those who were young enough to have caught Back to the Future 2 in theaters. A new report from Argus Insights shows where the biggest pain points are for smart home users, and more often than not, it's not the hardware but the apps that bring the most trouble and disappointment.
Frustration over app design is starting to show in the form of consumer choice; incumbent system developers like ADT, AT&T (News - Alert), and Comcast are letting users down, according to the report, while newer and more focused smart home companies like Vivint and Honeywell are improving the app experience, and thus, the customer experience.
Interestingly, there can be some variation in customer perception of apps and devices. For instance, Philips (News - Alert) actually received a higher delight score from customers on devices, but Honeywell won the day on apps. Philips apps were the least liked in the entire study.
One of the biggest common problems apps had was functionality. Video streaming apps, for example, performed slowly, with long periods of buffering and occasional blackouts. That could be a function of the network as well, but it's the part customers see that customers blame. One good point to come out of the survey is that app quality is starting to improve, if slowly.
Those interested in further information on the IoT / smart home environment today will find good company at ITEXPO, currently running through January 28 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale. At 2:30 pm on Wednesday, January 27, an address called “State of IoT” will take place, featuring Telecom Reseller (News - Alert)'s Gary Audin, who will describe the current state of the Internet of Things (IoT), a field which covers the smart home environment and beyond.
For many, Back to the Future 2 represented the high-water mark of what “the future” should have been, and in large parts, we're there. We're still waiting on some parts, but voice-controlled systems that respond to our commands directly are in some cases up and running. When that experience isn't delivered effectively, people will seek it from sources that will deliver it, and the app is the primary point of contact. It's not hard to remember Andrew Schmitt, an early adopter of smart home technology, who was using both an iPhone (News - Alert) and an iPad to keep all his smart home's systems running. Simplifying an app and making it more accessible can go a long way toward making users happy, and purchasing upgrades and new materials from the company that's delivering the best experience.
Smart home systems represent an exciting new change, and one that's desirable for many homeowners. Those who deliver the best experience are the ones most likely to come out ahead.
Edited by Kyle Piscioniere