Connected home products, that is, products which communicate with mobile (or even desktop) devices in order to automate aspects of your day-to-day life, are becoming less appealing by the month, according to a recent report.
The news comes from Argus Insights, which collected data from 12,000 consumers and concluded that interest in home automation is plummeting. In fact, following a rise in consumer interest around one year ago, customers have gradually become less concerned about automating their homes with each passing month. As you can see in the below graph, a sharp decline in interest has occured from February onwards.
As a former home automator, I agree with the report entirely; the home automation sector has long felt fragmented and slow to progress. Even the promise of HomeKit has underdelivered for many, and despite accessible (and affordable) products coming from the likes of Belkin’s WeMo line, it seems iOS device users are struggling to invest time, or cash, in home automation. When I changed Wi-Fi passwords at home and inadvertently disabled my WeMo Switch a few months ago, for instance, I didn’t bother reconfiguring it – the buggy iOS app had been annoying me for some time.
John Feland, CEO of Argus Insights, said:
Based on our review of consumer interest, the state of home automation in 2015 is not looking good for anyone who sells or makes these devices. Even though Google and Samsung made big purchases in this space by buying Nest thermostats, Dropcam and the suite of SmartThings products demand is stagnating. It is obvious that the early adopters have bought what they want and other consumers are expressing frustration that these products are complicated and difficult to set up and use.
Apple’s HomeKit platform could save the day, but at the minute, the outlook is bleak. Feland indeed adds, “There is a lot of confusion about standards with Google introducing Brillo and Apple’s new HomeKit. Add in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, Zigbee, and Z-Wave and there is a lot for any consumer to grapple with during installation.” Indeed, I’ve found that configuring a WeMo Switch can, from time to time, be about as infuriating as any tech installation can be. It’s no wonder folks aren’t interested in further automating their homes.
It’ll be interesting to see where this market goes. For now, HomeKit support is gradually rolling out, and this should inject some life into supported products you already own.