It has been said that ‘He who dies with the most toys, wins.’ But not all toys are created equal. Some spark joy, trigger endless hours of replay, and bring smiles to parents and children alike. Others sit, untouched, lonelier than the island of misfit toys citizens. A few are still in their packages, never inciting enough interest to even be opened, stuck in that purgatory of a good intention mating with bad execution.
Why can we not leverage the nanny cams already installed in smart home around the country to see what objects are being used, or at least gazed at adoringly? Imagine a class of algorithms that is able to cross reference the inventory of Toys R Us or Amazon (wait, you can already do that) and then turn your playroom into a continuously running focus group! Maybe you’ll earn enough benjamins to pay for college! It’s unlikely any proceeds gained from offloading the unwanted toys at a garage sale will even pay for books their first year, I mean “content subscriptions.”
We do not condone the surveillance of children for profit at Argus Insights but we do support the monitoring of markets. If you’d like to see if your content fits in the category of misfit toys, let us know. Since we see everything, we can tell you what ideas and brands are being ‘played with’ by the Internet of Things market and what is being left to fester in the corner under so much dust, despite the best efforts of their makers.
Headed out the door the a conference yesterday. Got all packed, extra business cards, backup battery charged and extra cables just in case. Where are my keys? Where did I leave them? Did my kids move them? Find a new secret hiding spot?
What if we had our home security cameras track our keys? Forget the little bluetooth low energy dongles I am forever forgetting to put new batteries in. I want something that ties into my voice assistant so I can ask, “Ok, Selexa, where did I leave my keys?” And she’s respond, “on your desk under your lunch plate.” We just need to extend the image recognition platforms that distinguish between dogs and toddlers crawling to include keys, sunglasses, wallets and marbles. I lose my marbles all the time…
A few years ago I was interviewed for a story on what were the barriers to adoption within the overall Smart Home market. One of the key that came out of the research I shared was the ongoing challenges that DIY consumers had with installation. Issues of WiFi range and configuration, device interoperability and just plain hardware quality kept consumers from having the joy of a more intelligent home within the first five minutes of opening the box.
Not only is there a lot of red in 2015, the percentage of green was a bit anemic as well. Consumers were really wrestling with Wi-Fi configuration, and other major stumbling blocks as they work through the agonies of installation. Cut forward to 2017 and there is an happier ending approaching, or better yet, happier beginning.
Looking at the same slice of consumer perceptions in the first half of 2017, we see less negative perceptions in some segments, growth in positive views across all segments. Suffice to say, the installation experience has improved within the Smart Home, correlating with a growth in the overall market as well.
% Reduction in Frustration
Smart Doorbell Cameras
Smart Switches and Plugs
As you can see in the table above, some of the most frustrating segments like Doorbell Cameras and Switches and Plugs saw significant improvements in their installation process for DIY consumers. These manufacturers worked hard to smooth out the kinks in their Out Of Box Experience and we see evidence of this in our consumer data.
Unfortunately, we are not out of the woods just yet. For the overall market, oddly, the frustration levels remained the same. So for each of these categories that have improved, there are categories where installation became more frustrating, including Smart Locks and Smart Home Hubs and Kits. Part of this, based on the market growth over the past few years, we are moving from the early adopters (many of which still have their X10 systems running) into the main part of the market. It is understandable that as a wider part of the target market embraces the promise of the Smart Home, more opportunities for frustration in installation can arise. The fact it is not substantial worse portends even more improvements in the future.
If you want to stay on top of consumer reaction to Smart Home, leverage the Argus Analyzer where we gather and analyzer all of the consumer review data across a broad array of devices and mobile applications. Like a focus group that never goes homes, subscribers can access the views of millions of consumers, getting early warning of the success and failure of products before the numbers come out and unpack the details as to why consumer sentiment is changing within the Smart Home market. Sign up for a free account today!
ADT’s Pulse App has never been one of the most loved Smart Home management apps on the market. While ADT has struggled to make the app customers use to control their monitoring service better with new releases over the past few years, they have failed at every turn. Their most recent attempt was on 15 Jun 2017. In the last 6 days, ADT has received more reviews for the Pulse app than in the past year, over 2000 reviews, almost all negative.
As you can see, not only is ADT trailing behind the dominance of Vivint and Xfinity Home, but in the hearts and minds of their customers, the experience with the Pulse app went from bad to worse. What changed? What about the new version is driving ADT customers in droves to vent their frustrations at the App Store?
In the funnel diagram above, the red shows what percentage of the over 2000 reviews mention specific topics negatively, the tiny sliver of green is the positive mentions and the gray indicates the span of neutral topics within the reviews. Overall, consumers heap vitriol on the stability of the updates, highlighted a number of bugs. Most pointed were the complaints on the loss of login using TouchId on the iOS version of the Pulse App. Consumers also flamed ADT on connectivity issues as the system switched between LTE and WiFi networks, frustrations with frequent updates requiring repeated logins to reauthorize or rearm their ADT systems. In short, a disaster. ADT has a lot they can learn from their competitors on how to deliver a quality user experience to their customers. Given the growth in DIY and the more delightful alternatives in managed services, ADT could be in trouble in the coming months even as overall Smart Home growth is increasing.
Do you delight or disappoint your customers? Do you want to know where your competition is vulnerable to disruption? You can watch the entire Smart Home market unfold using the Argus Analyzer, our Real-Time IoT Ecosystem Intelligence tool!
Apple announced the HomePod today! Yeah! Finally Apple has a simple multiuser interface to Siri so that all of those Homekit users can engage with their Smart Home investment without whipping out the app. Except it might be too late…
Clearly meant to compete with the Amazon Echo, the HomePod is a bit late on the scene, similar to Nokia’s late response to the threat of the iPhone, something I was on the front lines of. The difference here is that Apple is the one late to the party. Amazon’s dominance in this space will be a tough nut to crack, especially with their Community Garden approach to engagement. Even though Apple has opened up Siri to developers, the momentum behind Amazon in the home assistant category is eerily similar to Apple’s domination of the Smartphone market with the launch of the iPhone in January of 2007. When we look at the mentions of Alexa vs Siri across Smart Home Device and App reviews going back to January 2016, you can see the dominance enjoyed by Amazon (to be fair, we removed all reviews of Google Home and Amazon Alexa products (including Echo, Dot and Tap) from the dataset).
Homekit saw a blip on the scope when the new version was announced in September of 2016 but lost out nearly 8:1 to Amazon Alexa over the holiday season. Question is, will the HomePod shift this graph? Will we see consumers clamoring in Holiday 2017 for HomePod when pricing and performance are still unknown? Priced at $349, is it worth that much for Apple fans to display their existing high end bluetooth speakers with a multiuser voice controlled DJ? Time will tell…
Apple did nail one thing. HomePod is about music first and Smart Home engagement second. This echos, pardon the pun, what we are seeing about consumer use of Google Home and Amazon Echo. Music rules the Smart Home! Plus we are also seeing an increase in demand for smart switches, sensors and lighting as these voice assistants make it easier to control these oft underlook elements of the Smart Home rather than whipping out yet another app to make sure the guest room light is off…
As with all Smart Home devices, we’ll be tracking the launch closely as December approaches. You can already see the impact of HomePod on the Smart Home narrative in our analysis of the social conversation around the market. Will Apple avoid Nokia’s fate and make a dent on Amazon’s substantial lead or will Apple become the disrupted? You can watch it unfold using the Argus Analyzer, our Real-Time IoT Ecosystem Intelligence tool!