Wednesday, July 29, 2020

COVID-19, consumer privacy concerns, and price competition are key challenges for smart home players

Smart Home Tracker finds 40% of US broadband households report using video conferencing services, a 54% increase since the COVID-19 crisis started

New Parks Associates smart home research finds providers and manufacturers are increasingly competing on price, innovation, and privacy protections. The firm’s Smart Home Tracker notes 44% of US broadband households who do not own or intend to purchase a smart home device perceive the devices as too expensive, so as more manufacturers, such as Blink, Eufy, and Honor, deploy low-cost products with advanced features, the market could start to overcome this barrier.

“The perception of high prices continues to be the leading inhibitor for smart home device purchases,” said Elizabeth Parks, President, Parks Associates. “Previously, companies would introduce an advanced model of their product to Innovators and Early Adopters, and then maybe come down-market with a simpler, low-priced model, but as more product manufacturers enter the space, increased competition is driving industry players to integrate high-end features into their most affordable models. Consumers will start to see more value per dollar spent.”

The Smart Home Tracker also reveals privacy concerns are increasing among consumers—35% of US broadband households who do not own or intend to purchase a smart home device report security and privacy concerns as a reason not to purchase these devices, up from 25% in 2018. In response, Logitech, Eve, and ecobee have all recently launched smart indoor cameras promoting various privacy features that give owners more options to disable or adjust their cameras when privacy is desired.

The COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting social-distancing guidelines are forcing companies to find new and unique ways to promote these privacy features and deliver support to consumers. Verizon and Cox have begun leveraging interactive video and other technologies such as augmented reality to guide customers through setup and troubleshooting. With the COVID-19 crisis continuing, companies are also exploring ways to improve performance of the home network.

“Google has updated its Nest Wi-Fi router in order to help slow home networks support multiple video calls and games simultaneously,” said Patrice Samuels, Senior Analyst, Parks Associates. “This move by Google will drive better user experiences. It is also very timely as 40% of US broadband households now report using virtual meetings or video conferencing services, while only 26% reported using these services prior to the COVID-19 crisis.”

The Smart Home Tracker also tracks several major market moves from solution providers in the multifamily space, with Allegion and SmartRent both launching smart access solutions aimed to help property managers improve security and operating efficiencies at MDU properties.

For information about the Smart Home Tracker, contact sales@parksassociates.com. To schedule an interview with an analyst or to request specific research data, please contact Rosey Ulpino, rosey@parksassociates.com, 972-490-1113.

About Parks Associates: Parks Associates, a woman-owned and woman-led internationally recognized market research and consulting company, specializes in emerging technology solutions serving the consumer and small to medium business (SMB) markets. Celebrating its 35th year in 2021, Parks Associates is a partner to companies navigating the changing consumer technology landscapes through data-driven market insights, extensive consumer and industry intelligence, custom marketing services, and executive networking experiences and conferences.

The company's expertise includes home automation, control systems and security, digital media and platforms, entertainment and gaming, home networks, internet and video services, connected health and independent living solutions, mobile applications and services, support services, consumer electronics, and energy management solutions.

Each year, Parks Associates hosts industry webcasts, the CONNECTIONS™ Conference Series, Connected Health Summit, Smart Energy Summit: Engaging the Consumer, and Future of Video: OTT, Pay TV, and Digital Media. http://www.parksassociates.com

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