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Survey: smart home tech needs to simplify

02 Dec 2019
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TechSee, a global provider of visual customer assistance, released the results of its smart home support survey. 

The data shows that while smart home product adoption continues to surge – nearly 40% of study participants own at least one such device – complexity continues to be a barrier to greater uptake.

Consumers found smart thermostats the most difficult connected devices to use and install (13%), followed by security cameras and systems (11%). 

In fact, 74% of those polled said they were "certain" or "very likely" to return a new smart home purchase if they found it difficult to install or use.

‘Heavy’ users - those who have four or more smart home products - found it almost twice as easy to install various new devices compared with ‘light’ users - those who own just one or two devices. 

With some products, this gap widened even further; 11% of "light users" found it hard to operate smart thermostats while only 4% of heavy users experienced any difficulty.

"We see that as consumers become more familiar with smart home devices, they find them easier to set up and install," says TechSee CEO Eitan Cohen. 

"This paves the way for additional purchases that generate more revenue and better margins for smart home brands. But the data also highlights an ongoing problem – entry point friction. Users often find product setup difficult and, in many cases, return products as a result."

The tasks that consumers find the most challenging are troubleshooting (22%), syncing with other devices (15%,) and syncing devices with their corresponding apps (11%). 

Yet when it comes to solving problems during setup and installation, 78% of those surveyed prefer self-service - especially how-to videos - although 16% still ended up calling contact centres for guidance.

"We see that setup and activation need to be effortless for the consumer and that the preference is for DIY," Cohen adds. 

"Virtual assistants are going to be key for this reason, especially if the smart home industry is to continue growing as expected. Nearly 55% of consumers are willing to use personal assistants such as Alexa, Siri, and Google Home, to walk them through setup and use, rising to 68% of respondents who already own a smart speaker."

The market for smart home devices is growing rapidly and is predicted to reach $151.38 billion by 2024, with a compound annual growth rate of 12%.