Simplicity and security key to mainstream consumer adoption.
A survey conducted by Bluetooth Special Interest Group has revealed that 46% of consumers believe smart home devices will be mainstream by 2020.
Bluetooth SIG found that 6% of those surveyed already accepted that the era of the smart home has already arrived, with 66% thinking that smart home devices will be mainstream within the next decade.
This strong consumer interest in such devices was tempered by their high expectations for simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
54% of respondents said the devices will have to be based on simplicity and should be straightforward to use, with 41% believing devices should be easy to set up.
Over a quarter (28%) suggested that gadgets should connect easily and quickly with a Smartphone, tablet or PC, and 73% admitted they would be frustrated if it took too long to set up a smart home device.
In order to make smart home devices more desirable, 42% of consumers warned companies to keep their data safe and offer competitive prices when marketing the devices. This highlighted a major barrier to smart device adoption – trust. 67% of those surveyed were concerned that some smart home devices would make their data vulnerable.
Despite enormous hype around devices such as smart washing machines and smart kitchen gadgets, the research found that the hype is yet to materialise into actual demand from consumers
Today’s most appealing smart home gadgets are those which allow the control of the home environment.
45% found smart heating and thermostats very useful and 34% liked the apps to control smart lighting. 33% said having opportunity to use smart security and monitoring devices are a plus in the smart home age.
Bluetooth’s research also found that consumers were very much satisfied with the benefits from smart home solutions such as energy and cost savings.
For example, 66% of consumers said that being able to control their heating or lighting remotely would help them save energy and cut their energy bills.
Furthermore, 73% admitted they would like to receive Smartphone notifications from their home security system if it detects a threat.
Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG, said: "This study confirms consumers are looking for smart home products that ‘just work’.
"It’s evident demand for smart home devices is ramping up and consumers are keen to live in the scenarios conjured up by the Jetsons over 60 years ago. Smart home manufacturers need to deliver products that are simple, cost-effective and secure for this segment to become mainstream.
"It’s clear there is an appetite for these kinds of solutions but widespread adoption will require the use of mainstream connectivity technologies.
"As we’ve seen in other segments, niche technologies simply cannot provide the simplicity, interoperability and security that consumers demand. Bluetooth Smart technology offers all those things with an enormous install base in Smartphones, tablets and PCs, a simple pairing process and AES-128 bit cryptography for maximum security.
"While consumers feel smart home devices aren’t quite mainstream yet, Bluetooth is already paving the way for manufacturers to deliver the products consumers want. These manufacturers can also be confident in the knowledge that Bluetooth Smart has a development environment that makes it easy to bring these products to market."
The report was based on consumer research, with results taken from an online survey of over 4,000 US, UK and German consumers in January 2015.