The evolution of connected home appliances depends on if they actually deliver on making consumers’ lives easier
Connected home appliances have traditionally been stand-alone products optimised for a specific function. As sensors and data management technologies proliferate, the technical standard of devices will change enabling new interactions with you and your home. However, inertia for purchasing durable goods will likely mean the growth of connected appliances will be slower.
Connected home appliances (for example, ovens, washers, electronics even kettles) that sense, anticipate, and interact with all aspects of a consumer’s digital life are slowly emerging as products in the home today. These appliances are equipped with WiFi and other communications protocols to allow greater user control, typically through their mobile device. The intention is for consumers to use their phones and appliances together to set and adjust their home to meet their preferences.
75% of respondents state that smart appliances have significantly improved the day to day running of their home
Currently, there are a number of connected appliances in the market, but little have reached substantive scale. The technology is all there – as evidenced by advancements in robotics in the manufacturing industry. The issue in the connected home is both ‘push’ and ‘pull’. First, the home appliance market is not noted for its high-tech innovation – the models simply don’t change very often, and they are built to last. Second, consumers tend to be slow to purchase durable goods due to their high cost and the inconvenience of transitioning between products. Altogether, many appliances in the home currently meet consumer needs to a more than satisfactory level. For customers to adopt a new product, there will have to be clearly presented benefits and significant brand appeal.
Home automation will likely be the sum of a number of specific use-cases. Rather than individually controlling appliances; appliances become embedded with operating software that allows them to communicate with each other and also react to you, the consumer and homeowner. Autonomy will enable appliances to provide services personalised to customers and more significantly to engage in transactions on the client’s behalf – making M2M, M2B, etc. transactions possible. These could simply be to organise repairs, restock supplies or alter an appointment.
The evolution of connected home appliances will first and foremost depend on if they deliver on making consumers’ lives easier – a specific hindrance being the security issues that a number of internet connected appliances present. If deterrents are manageable, companies in this space are well positioned to capture a close relationship with customers.