Smart home devices have come a long way since the first-ever invented smart home appliance, ECHO-IV in 1966. It was capable of a small list of automation tricks; simple educational programs, tone generator, basic TV control, stereo on/off, and an alarm clock. However, It needed lots of room to operate, 3kW of power to run, and plenty of technical know-how to use.
With the advancement of technology and a giant improvement in lifestyle, numerous homeowners have installed smart home devices in their households to provide increased automation in their lives. The smart home industry is ever-expanding and has successfully proliferated into a large part of the residential population. The massive variety of smart home appliances, voice commerce technology, easier integration etc has led to greater adoption of these gadgets within households.
According to research reports by Fortune Business Insights, the smart home market is expected to go from USD 99.98 billion in 2021 to 380.52 billion in 2028, growing at a CAGR of 21.1%. Such massive growth would mean exponential revenue for smart home manufacturing companies. A detailed report released by Parks Associates shows that 36% of homeowners in the US have now installed a smart home device into their household. The adoption statistics have gone up by 2% since the Q4 of 2020.
Even though the market is expanding, experts believe that the adoption rate is not as high as it should have been. Research by TechSee has revealed that 58% of homeowners in the US have never opted to purchase a smart home device due to its technical complications.
Paul Williams, a designated speaker at CONNECTIONS by Parks Associates has mentioned in his speech that the smart home industry is still “at the tail end of an early adopter phase”. He has also highlighted the importance of improving the smart home interface to promote a higher consumer adoption rate.
What are the primary challenges that consumers face with smart home devices?
Although smart home devices are capable of bringing automation and ease, many homeowners have struggled with these devices due to their complexities. We have segregated smart home buyer challenges into three main categories:
- Set up challenges
Device setup and network provisioning are the primary reasons behind lower adoption rates of smart home devices. After purchasing a smart home device (for instance, a smart doorbell or a smart thermostat) consumers face challenges in pairing the device with the local Wifi and establishing a connection for its smooth onboarding. Most smart home device onboarding require the user to download an additional app just for onboarding purposes. Additionally, manually transferring the Wifi credentials is impossible challenging when it comes to headless IoT gadgets without an input interface (such as smart doorbells). The entire onboarding process can be unnecessarily complex and lengthy, leading to frequent customer calls, product returns, and bad ratings.
A survey by IQor has shown that 33% of buyers have faced challenges with device onboarding and network provisioning, out of which 22% of buyers have opted to return the product. These returns are detrimental to the company’s growth topline and bottomline.
- Security Challenges
Another major reason behind the lower smart home adoption rate are the increased security concerns revolving around these gadgets. Homeowners have expressed concern regarding the security protocols maintained by smart home gadgets. There have been several incidences of identity theft, camera hacking, etc with smart home devices. Smart TVs have been at the forefront of hacked IoT devices. Studies by Kaspersky have revealed that 1.51 billion smart home devices have been hacked within the first 6 months of 2021! Hackers target devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home for malware attacks and phishing activities. Such staggering numbers have dissuaded prospect buyers from purchasing smart home devices.
- Troubleshooting Challenges
No matter what technical gadget you buy, troubleshooting is a part of the process.
No matter what technical gadget customers buy, they expect it to work without any glitch but many times these devices stop functioning or get disconnected from the internet. Customers have faced the different kind of issues, e.g the smart TV shows it could not fetch the wifi even when the home wifi is working fine, or the smart speaker stop working after firmware update or taking prolonged time to get those updates.
In those situations, troubleshooting is only way to resolve the problem.
Consumers have claimed that the troubleshooting procedure for smart home devices can be complex, challenging, and often frustrating. Since most of these gadgets do not have a monitor or an input/output device, the problem that the device is encountering cannot be understood up front. Smart doorbells have several colour codes, each referring to a single problem. Consumers have to refer to the user manual for the detailed color codes, which can be an arduous process. Additionally, consumers have a hard time explaining the exact problem to the customer care team which results in long and frustrating phone calls and a poor user experience.
Solving Buyer Challenges with Data over Sound
Data over Sound is a pioneering technology that uses near-ultrasonic sound waves to transfer cryptographically secure digital data bits between two devices with a speaker and a microphone. Data over sound is fast, secure and offline, paving way for complete security. Integrating “Data over Sound” technology into smart home devices can efficiently solve all the user-based challenges, resulting in increased adoption rates and higher sales.
TrillBit has utilized “Data over Sound” to build 3 products i. TrillConnect that enables frictionless instant device onboarding and network provisioning. Ii. TrillSecure enables secured access to your home devices and stops hacking of the devices iii. TrillAssist enables easy troubleshooting of devices
With Trillconnect, device onboarding can be completed within fewer steps.
Trillconnect provides the following features:
- One-Click-to-Connect instant device commissioning
- Sending network credentials encrypted using “Data over sound”
- No QR code, NFC, or Bluetooth
- No WiFi Soft-AP mode
- Simultaneous commissioning of multiple devices
With TrillSecure, access to any IoT device access can be done only through a trusted device. TrillSecure provides the following features:
- Any device that needs access or connection to an IoT device is proximity authenticated and labelled as trusted device
- Even you have login credential to access the device, but if you are trying to access through untrusted device, connection will not be made
With TrillAssist, identifying problem in IoT devices have been made simpler for quick resolution. TrillAssist provide following features:
- Enabling devices to send error codes and status information directly to customer service
- Works for non- and smart devices
- Works for disconnected devices or in fail state
- Customized error codes
- Audible or inaudible transmission
Owing to its offline nature and range control feature, Data over Sound ensures maximum security for the integrated device. The transferred data is encrypted with industry-standard encryption methods such as TOTP, AES, RSA etc to ensure maximum security. TrillBit’s Data over Sound technology also provides secure commissioning and are regulated by industry-standard protocols similar to FIDO.
TrillBit also ensures simpler troubleshooting methods through Data over Sund technology. Along with the colour codes, the troubleshooting information can be directly transferred to the app installed on the user’s phone. Once the app receives an error code from the device, it displays the error to the user and suggests possible solutions. This entire process can be completed without being connected to the internet. Additionally, the error log is saved within the app and can be shared with the customer care team for any further assistance, leading to complete customer satisfaction.
Although the rate of adoption of smart home devices is still low owing to the complexities and challenges, based on “Data over Sound” Trillbit triple-products- i. TrillConnect ii.TrillSecure and iii. TrillAssist can truly pave the way to efficiently solving these challenges and improving user experience. Using these products can transform the user journey and lead to effortless device provisioning and troubleshooting. Once consumers can successfully overcome the challenges, the adoption rate will grow exponentially, contributing to higher revenue for smart home companies.
Book a Demo with us, to know more about the use cases for your smart home devices.