Smart devices are undoubtedly the next big thing. With expected $20.8bn IoT connected devices by 2020 the future market predictions are ever promising but for some, just preposterous.
The future might look bright ahead but, what is the reality of today’s market? What is the consumer’s perception of these shiny IoT smart devices that want to make their way into their homes?
The answer is that we are far from the glitzy predictions and diffusion will prove more difficult that what it seems. The fascination for this smart devices is undeniable but many are still reluctant to actually purchase. The barriers to purchase are identifiable as the most common but nonetheless obstacles to innovation.
Obstacles to Innovation with Smart Devices
Skepticism :Will this device do what it says on the package? Can I really just ask Alexa to order me a pair of trousers to receive them the day after?
Let’s take Alexa’s example, with over 10,000 skills to choose from the typical consumer behaviour will be adding few and trial after trial, will miserably fail at getting any real answers from Alexa. Finally, will come to the conclusion that it can always be useful as a fancy voice controlled stopwatch that will prevent the roast from burning in the oven.
Security and Privacy : Just how much we value our privacy and security as individuals in our homes? How do we like to know that some creepy hacker or a CIA agent might be listening to our conversations?
These devices like Google Home with voice controlled assistant are always listening. I think any Google Home or even Google phone owner can say to have been interrupted at least once by Google assistant with of course, no mention of the keyword.
Price : How affordable or should we say, expensive are these devices?
In early stages of development, the market is full of pricey devices and most people think it’s a lot of money to spend on gadgets. Innovation enthusiasts will always be found in youngest bracket within the society, but will also be the ones with less disposable income.Alphabet, Nest smart thermostat company , recognised this as an important issue and is expected to release later this year a much cheaper version of the already popular smart thermostat.
Infrastructure: How fast and reliable my internet connection has to be to support these devices?To backup such huge growth expectations there is a need to invest in such infrastructures. Better internet connection everywhere will mean wider market opportunities for IoT companies.
Consumers are definitely hard to please when trying to sell something that they are not accustomed to. It will always prove challenging and this is not new, so much so that Roger’s thought to make a theory that would describe dynamics between innovation and scale of its adoption by consumer.
One thing is for sure that IoT manufactures should take these concerns very seriously if they want to see sales grow. For instance, security and privacy are areas most talked about and cause of most worries for existing and potential new customers. Surely, the way forward and to solve such problem would be to focus on embedded firmware security for these smart devices. In some cases IoT devices can also be the answer. Products like Cujo, a new smart firewall device that has just come to the market, attempts to fill the gap to make our Smart Home feel safer from hackers.
Price is also another area on which manufactures should start focusing. More affordable smart devices will mean greater market potential, on a scale that could make also the skeptics buy into these products and the most enthusiastic money-less youngsters. Needless to say the benefits brought by even one of these smart device in your home outdoes all the possible doubts. It could be about getting as far as convincing the tougher consumers into buying the first smart device to open them to the infinite possibilities that IoT at Home can bring.