Reliability and Trust: Building the Foundation of the Connected Home
The connected home, as has been noted in previous Stratecast reports, exists at the intersection of several service and technology domains. These are: communication services, content delivery and management, home networking, and telemetry.2 However, these domains, while defining the “what” of the connected home, do not define the “how.” That is to say, they do not define the expectations of the consumer who might be expected to buy a connected home solution.
Operators typically focus on the “what” aspects of service offerings. It is probably too simplistic to say that operators have a “build it and they will come” philosophy; but frequently, a new service is deployed, and only then do operators and service providers worry about how to market it. This penchant to fire before aiming has led to a number of remarkably unsuccessful forays into the connected home space. One example that comes to mind is the Verizon home automation offering of a few years ago. Although the technology was impressive, the offering never really gained traction, and was ultimately put on an organizational hiatus.
Yet, the principal consideration for consumers is always: what can the offering do for me? How can it simplify their lives, save them money, reduce the complexity of their daily activities, reduce their stress level, or increase their security? It is ironic, then, that operators tend to lead with technology, rather than addressing consumer concerns to begin with. Ultimately, it is the subjective concerns of consumers that determine the success of objective offerings.
Survey data indicate that consumers will purchase those offerings that satisfy their desires for simplification and security. Marketing that emphasizes the technology only tends to increase concerns that the technology might be too complex to keep operating. And services which depend heavily on Internet delivery are beginning to invoke concerns that personal data might be at risk. Consequently, connected home offerings must increasingly address these concerns: the offerings have to work and be well supported and, to the extent that such connected home offerings are instantiated as an Internet-connected service, they have to be secure.
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