Smart home: 12% report unresolved tech problems

Oct. 17, 2018
According to Parks Associates, 12% of smart home device owners in U.S. broadband households report technical problems going unresolved ...

According to Parks Associates, 12% of smart home device owners in U.S. broadband households report technical problems going unresolved in 2018, compared to approximately 5% in the previous three years, suggesting a need for self-help, professional, and premium support services.

"The number of reported problems declined, but the jump in unresolved problems points to issues getting more complicated and difficult to diagnose," said Patrice Samuels, senior analyst at Parks. "Strong value is achieved from the smart home when devices communicate with each other, but diversity in device technology and communication protocols adds complexity to the smart home and creates challenges in achieving seamless communication."

Many smart home devices require reliable WiFi to operate, and for many home security and health devices, secure WiFi is critical. Problems with connectivity are now the most persistent problems across all device types, so a support solution that can warn of potential or impending connectivity problems anywhere in a network and take steps to prevent outages will be valuable in the smart home ecosystem, Parks says.

"The support experience reflects directly on a consumers' perception of that brand," Samuels said. "While most brands now recognize the need to adequately support their customers, minimizing the cost of doing so is critical to maintaining profitability. Knowledge about the devices consumers have in their homes helps boost the ability to anticipate challenges and invest in cost-efficient strategies to resolve them."

Other research indicates:

  • 79% of smart home device owners set up at least one device by themselves or with the help of friends and family.
  • 16% of consumers who set up computing and entertainment devices themselves report that the process is difficult.
  • 14% of smart home device owners report experiencing one or more problems with a device in 2018.
  • 72% percent of consumers who paid one-time fees for support of smart home or computing/entertainment devices paid $50 or more for their service.

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