Karan K,Technical Director, discusses his thoughts on consumer education in the smart home and IoT spaces.
While the market for the IoT and smart home tech specifically is projected to grow exponentially in the next decade, the Consumer Electronics Association and Parks Associates recently found two-thirds of Indian consumers with broadband aren’t familiar with smart home services, products or where to buy them. Where’s the disconnect occurring in such a promising marketplace? Consumer education is still a major factor holding back companies and IoT/smart home technology from reaching their full potential.
To start, many consumers still do not understand basic industry terms. Ask most people what they think about smart home, home automation or interoperability and you’ll likely get a blank stare. Consumers also lack understanding of the benefits smart home technology can provide, especially as it relates to daily activities. Security, energy efficiency and ease-of-use are just a few benefits that are commonly drowned out amongst the commotion of the next big gadget. And the fact that there are so many different use cases that can’t easily be distinguished by demographic means marketing to consumers is more challenging than usual.
So while industry growth presents a huge opportunity for companies hoping to break into the marketplace, they’ll need to first figure out how to engage a relatively uneducated consumer mindset. It will be important for companies in both the smart home and IoT spaces to band together and make a dedicated effort towards consumer education through hosting podcasts, joint presentations at consumer-focused conferences (think CES) and, importantly, taking the time to explain key industry terms. Companies also need to communicate the benefits their technology or services provide, and how they are making consumers’ lives easier in language consumers understand. Reducing the use of jargon plaguing the industry and moving towards terms and language used in everyday life will help. Positioning a smart thermostat as an easy way to monitor and reduce energy consumption heading into the winter season is much more palatable then listing out the technical functions of the product.
Through working together, using relatable terms and language, and promoting everyday benefits of services and solutions, the smart home and IoT industries can not only tap into one of the fastest growing consumer markets, but also make a real impact on how we are integrating the technology into our daily lives.