Imagine you’re in a rush in the morning to get to your first day on a new job. You’ve gotten dressed in your most professional outfit, put on makeup, and curled your hair perfectly. You rush out the door, excited to get to work. A couple hours later, as you’re getting settled into your new office, you get a frantic phone call from a worried neighbor who sees smoke coming out of your apartment. You immediately remember the curling iron you forgot to unplug! You rush to call 911 to put out what could become a catastrophic apartment fire.
Now imagine an alternative scenario. As soon as you get to work, you realize you’ve left your curling iron plugged in. Instead of asking to be excused on your first day to go home and unplug it, what if you could pick up your smartphone and with the touch of a button turn off the power to the Belkin WeMo --a smart home plug gadget-- that your curling iron is plugged into?
This isn’t a scenario reserved just for futuristic movies like “The Jetsons” or “Back to the Future,” it’s here now. According a 2014 report by Business Insider, the smart home market is set to make up 27% of the IoT market in 2019. However, for reasons of installation, device management and control integration, and security are key reasons that consumers haven’t fully jumped on the smart home bandwagon just yet. A survey by research company Accenture, revealed that 47% of consumers around the world said that security and privacy concerns were holding them back from adopting the connected home.
Nevertheless, the potential for connected devices and smart homes to revolution how we live is huge.
What are Smart Home Gadgets?
From companies to the tech media, smart home gadgets and solutions are on the tip of everyone’s tongues. Apple just recently announced the IoT app Home, while the telecommunications company Nokia is developing an all-encompassing smart home solution.
But what is IoT? And what does an IoT-connected smart home look like?
IoT lets people automate their homes and control devices and machines inside remotely, whether the person is at home in another room or away from home. Home automation can range from controlling security measures to room temperatures to lighting to sound speakers to appliances and even window shades. All of these connected devices can be turned on or off and adjusted with a voice command or touch of a button on a mobile device, all thanks to the connection IoT enables.
According to report by research company Gartner, consumers will have 13.5 billion devices connected to the IoT by 2020. These devices will range from the simple like the Belkin WeMo Plug to more complex, integrated smart home systems. Because these installations can be complex to both install and repair, “smart home devices will require service in the future,” said Olaf Koch, Chairman of the Board of Metro Group, at the 2016 NOAH Conference in Berlin this year.
What’s Holding Smart Home Customers Back?
Being able to turn off the lights when you’re ready to go to sleep or opening the window shades when you wake up in the morning without having to get out of bed sounds dreamy doesn’t it?
This type of convenient home functionality is what having a smart home will give you.
But many customers are still hesitating about jumping on the smart home bandwagon. Although there are many smart devices like the Belkin WeMo plug mentioned earlier that are simple to use, having a home system that can open a garage door for you and turn on the lights when you arrive home late night, can be a bit more complicated to install and set up.
Additionally, some consumers fear that smart gadgets and their manufacturers might learn to much personal data about their private lives. Like, home lighting or temperature gadgets learning your daily schedule of when you’re home or when you’re not. This is why it's crucial for smart home device manufacturers and service companies to build trust with consumers from step one of the customer journey.
And since these technologies are part of the wave of the future and need to be installed at home, they can’t be brought into a repair shop or electronics store to fix. Many potential customers wonder who they can call for help with service or installation.
Well, there’s an easy solution to this problem: crowdsourced service.
Crowdsourced Smart Home Set Up
Now imagine that when you head into a shop or buy a connected device online, the smart home retailer gives you an option for additional customer support from the crowd. When tech-savvy individuals are empowered to show customers the value of a smart home, not only can an automated home be implemented, but customers may also buy into other connected products.
Upselling smart home products is easier when customers have someone knowledgeable who can guide their buying journey and combat the fear of the technological unknown. And consumers want to have a seamless smart home ecosystem instead of a collection of gadget that must be controlled individually. With crowd service, customers can see the value of having more connected gadgets in their homes. A member of the crowd can arrive at the customer’s home and install and set up their connected home system and any other products that are linked to it.
With crowdsourced smart home service, having an IoT connected home becomes both possible and suitable for the masses. No matter how tech-savvy customers are themselves, most people will be able to see the value of having someone who can easily help them make their home safer, more comfortable, and automated.