Consumer Study Labels Smart Home Technology as ‘Broken Promise’

New study of 3,000 consumers by rails on home automation systems for having poor user experience and low value. In all, 79% of buyers label cost, setup, and maintenance as a ‘turn-off.’


According to a new consumer survey, home automation still has a long way to go. The study of 3,000 consumers conducted by, rails on smart home technology for having poor user experience design and a much lower financial value than the technology is perceived to have. 

According to an article from the Security Industry Association (SIA) Update, a new survey titled “The Smart Home Customer Experience: Repairing a Broken Promise” asked consumers about the current state of technology in their homes, and what, if any, barriers are preventing wider adoption. Of those with smart home technology, most have installed devices for entertainment (74 percent) and safety (46 percent) purposes, while potential buyers are eyeing devices for energy efficiency (58 percent) and convenience (47 percent).

The main issue facing both current owners and potential buyers, not surprisingly, is cost, both in terms of money and time. A good number of owners (42 percent) said that the price of installation and maintenance was their greatest frustration, and a sizable number of potential owners (79 percent) found the cost of purchase, setup, and maintenance to be a turn-off. The problems don’t end after installation. Nearly a third (31 percent) said setup, configuration and support issues cause ongoing frustration.

The results suggest a disconnect between performance and complexity. Nearly half of potential buyers (49 percent) would like to purchase devices through a single service provider, who would sell and install all devices. While platforms and interoperability are still being sorted out for this emerging and evolving technology, consumers seem to be hesitating, waiting for simplicity and plug-and-play to become the standard. 

Dissatisfaction is coming from four key areas, according to the report:

Complexity: The complexity of installing and configuring smart home systems is already frustrating users and causing hesitation in potential buyers.

Cost: Despite the enhanced value to a home, the perceived cost of smart home systems is a deterrent for many consumers.

Self-Service: Smart home owners and potential buyers want to be able to install and fix smart home devices and systems themselves, but potential buyers—who may be less technology-adept—still perceive the systems as too complex, and are concerned that they won’t be able to fix issues on their own.

Support: Because of the disparate nature of smart home devices available from multiple manufacturers and service providers, both owners and potential buyers are unsure where to turn for service and support.

About the Author

Jason Knott
Jason Knott:

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald's Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. 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 has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California.




Smart Home