In the last few years, manufacturers of home electronics and household appliances have jumped feet first onto the connected products bandwagon. Thanks to optimistic predictions about market growth, companies seem confident that, if they build those connected refrigerators, thermostats, ceiling fans, or doorbells, customers are certain to buy them.
And, yes, the so-called early adopters have already bought these things—even though setting up, maintaining and installing them often resembles a science project more than a plug-and-play consumer experience.
Secret to Crossing the Chasm is the Human Approach
So why have connected home products not yet crossed the proverbial marketing chasm to general adoption? It’s because manufacturers have taken a tech-focused approach rather than a human-centric approach to product development. They may not fully understand who their customers are and what they really want.
At least that’s the conclusion of a new study of the connected home market from the consulting firm Accenture. The report entitled “Putting the Human First in the Future Home” summarizes the core of the problem as: “The future home is an attitude, not a technology.”
Most companies design products for a simplified idea of buyers of connected home products, assuming they are all upper-middle-class suburban dads and moms or young hipster urbanites. In reality, the group that is the most trusting of technology encompasses those aged 65 years or more. Tech companies have largely neglected that consumer demographic.
Dispelling such myths, the Accenture report describes eight separate buyer mindsets grouped along intersecting axes—whether buyers view their home as a reflection of their personal brand or as a place valued for its privacy and comfort, and whether they approach technology as early adopters of the latest products or as more tentative users who commit only if the product serves a real need—and divided across those with and without children. Each type of buyer brings a particular set of connected home motivations and fears.
Here at Ayla, we think the report is an important piece of work that manufacturers would do well to adopt as a guideline. Manufacturers can model the Accenture questions and query their own users to find out: What does “home” truly mean to you? How has technology changed your definition of home? What’s more important to you, efficiency or comfort? Does technology in your home make you feel more connected or more isolated?
The answers, according to Accenture, will allow companies to “be better equipped to engineer the future home solutions that consumers really want.”
Once you Know What Customers Want, What Comes Next?
Companies ready to move forward with their connected home product design concepts must employ the expertise of experienced Internet-of-Things (IoT) engineers. But if manufacturers haven’t yet assembled a team of IoT experts, they may want to look for help from integrators such as Ayla Networks.
“The best way to improve your chances of success is to focus on the common theme of experience,” writes Ayla Chairman and Co-Founder Dave Friedman. “If it makes sense to build a platform, then it’s important to have a highly experienced team on your side to help make it happen. Sometimes this team can be drawn from your own staff, but often it means recruiting externally or bringing on a system integrator that has proven its capabilities in similar projects.”
Can we Help you Create Connected Home Products Your Customers will Love?
Ayla Networks can make it happen. Contact us today to learn more about our services or visit us online for a closer look at our applications for businesses.