On the Road to Mass Market Adoption: Helping Consumers Understand the Value of Connected Living Technologies
We are closer than ever to making the connected home a reality for millions of households around the world. We have the means and the technology to make that possible, there is just one thing missing, and that is mass market adoption. At present, connected living technologies, such as a smart thermostat, are seen by most people as a nice-to-have feature, but not as a must-have. They are still considered luxury items, but perhaps they are not. The time has come to change the mindset. But how?
We believe that the way to mass market adoption goes through monitoring and identifying consumer needs —even if these needs are not yet evident to the consumer— and addressing them; and then listening to their concerns and what they are really missing, providing the solution to the problem. We will explain this further in the next post. For now, we will focus on identifying consumer needs.
Research and common sense teach us that what people really need is not flashy features or trendy gadgets; those are fun for a while and help catch consumer attention, but don’t lead to mass market adoption. Many emerging connected home companies seem to focus only on the ‘cool’ factor —like smart bulbs that change color— and tend to overlook what really matters at the end of the day; values such as: safety, security, energy efficiency and peace of mind. In a survey we conducted among European and American consumers, we found out that the key driver for users who are considering to invest in a connected home system is security, followed by convenience and fire safety in the case of Americans, and energy management for Europeans.
People won’t spend their extra money on things that are just nice to have, such as a light that changes color, but will consider to do so for the peace of mind that comes from receiving an alert on their smartphone in case there is a water leakage in the kitchen, or to efficiently manage energy at home, thus helping the environment while saving on the monthly electricity bill. If they perceive those things as useful or necessary, as things that help improve their daily lives in a meaningful way, they will happily pay for them, just as they do to have cable TV, mobile phone services or an internet connection.
Besides value, another thing to bear in mind when aiming for mass adoption is a seamless and simple User Experience. We’re not talking just about design only, but about also ease of use and intuitiveness of the system. It’s about providing users with a seamless, plug-and-play experience that offers full hassle-free control over their home from a single device (such as their mobile phone). The fewer buttons and the less clutter, the better. If a product is difficult to use, it won’t be used. It should be simple and intuitive to manage and also to set-up. Consumers don’t care about technical specifications and complex technology; they just want things to work properly.
In sum, helping consumers understand the benefits of owning a connected home system and how it will help make their lives better, easier and safer, as well as a great user experience are the keys for mass market adoption. Of course, this won’t happen overnight. It will be a slow, gradual process, as more and more consumers incorporate connected living solutions into their lives.
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