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Control & Automation

Study Reveals Consumers Hate Home Automation Apps

Argus Insights study shows that consumers are frustrated with the user experience of many entry-level home automation apps. ADT, Philips, Comcast and AT&T systems in particular are dissed, while Vivint and Honeywell gain better marks.


Some devices have a large gap between how satisfied consumers are with the hardware compared to the app interface. In this chart, the apps near the top are those with higher rates of satisfaction. Those in the lower half of the chart are ones that consumers report frustration.
Credit: Argus Insights
Jason Knott · January 27, 2016

A new study compiled by analyzing nearly 50,000 smart home device and app reviews reveals that consumers are extremely frustrated with entry-level home automation apps, noting that they often are "failing to delight" users. The data is great news for custom integrators who can offer their services to upsell more sophisticated home automation controls as a solution to the confusion that abounds.

According to Argus Insights, consumers are overall more frustrated with the applications that dictate, schedule and manage each device than with the actual devices themselves. Past Argus Insights reports looked at the hardware component and the challenges and irritations customers were experiencing with installation and connectivity, but this new analysis introduces a new data set to uncover the fact that consumers are experiencing even more issues with the apps that run these devices.

According to data compiled from nearly 50,000 Smart Home device and app reviews from August 2015 to the present, the incumbent home security companies like ADT, Comcast and AT&T are failing to delight consumers with their apps while the more innovative and newer smart home-focused companies like Vivint and Honeywell appear to be cultivating a more synchronized hardware and software ecosystem and are doing better among consumers.

“Companies that have aligned their entire ecosystem to delight consumers will outperform the rest of the market in the long term. Look how Honeywell came from behind to beat Nest with an overall better experience,” says John Feland, CEO and founder, Argus Insights.

Argus Insights found while software is very important in the consumer perception of the Smart Home experience, it is sometime very different from consumer perception of corresponding hardware. For example, Philips devices receive a higher delight score than Honeywell devices, but Honeywell’s apps are the most delightful according to the research, while Philips apps are the least liked. This scenario results in Honeywell providing a better overall experience across the entire smart home ecosystem, while Philips consumers report a foreboding gap in the experience between hardware and software.

“Companies like Philips must mind the gap between the devices and the experience of using the app,” says Dr. Feland. “Once consumers have installed and connected their device, the app becomes the primary touch point for their new Smart Home. Unfortunately, our analysis shows a looming lag in app experience which are a blemish on an otherwise improving end-to-end user experience.”

Argus Insights 2016: Vivint and Hneywell take the prize for delighting consumers.



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  About the Author

Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990. He joined EH Publishing in 2000, and before that served as publisher and editor of Security Sales, a leading magazine for the security industry. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He is currently a member of the CEDIA Education Action Team for Electronic Systems Business. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jknott@ehpub.com

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  Article Topics


Control & Automation · Automation · Business · Research · News · ADT · Comcast · Home Automation · Honeywell · Nest · Philips · All Topics
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