As you may already know from our most recent Press Release, consumer demand for connected home devices is falling. Issues with connectivity and difficulties with installation are deterring mainstream adoption, but, in the midst of stagnating demand, Amazon is opening development on their voice technology software, while investing some $100 million in their ‘Alexa Fund’ to develop their, already delightful, voice technology for connected devices.
So far, Amazon’s Alexa Fund has invested in companies developing in various connected device areas, including: smart kitchen apps, DIY home security, garage door monitoring, connected toys, virtual athletic coaching, and connected car. Amazon’s founder and chief executive stated that the goal of this initiative is to “empower people to explore the boundaries of voice technology,” and that he plans to focus the project especially on companies building “products for the home.”
Could developments in voice technology mean the disruption of the smartphone as the connected home controller paradigm? Instead of stumbling through pages of apps on a smartphone find the one that displays a button to switch on the lights, we could politely ask our lights to turn themselves on, making a smart home even simpler to control.
Success with the Alexa Fund could help to improve how users interact with connected devices, but will the promise of more convenient control help reverse the negative demand trend for connected home devices? Amazon is betting on it, while Apple and Google keep their voice technology private despite expressed plans to open development.
Argus Insights will continue to track consumer perception of the Internet of Things, so stay tuned as we watch and report on the developing market. We listen to consumers to discover what is bringing them delight and dissatisfaction to coach our clients on how to sustain market fit in the face of competitive threats and shifting customer preferences. Schedule a free consultation to discover how quickly Argus Insights can deliver actionable insight.
Consumer interest in wearable technology has been falling since a large holiday peak in January, but the introduction of new products continues to engross consumers. This month, consumers were impressed by Thalmic Labs’ Myo Gesture Controlled Armband, and while Best Buy continues to be the best wearables retailer, companies are increasingly shunning the typical retail experience in favor of a more directed relationship with their consumers. Argus Insights keeps track of the market to provide clients with the tools and insights they need to succeed, sign up here to receive this Wearables Demand Snapshot every month.
Consumer demand has been falling across the entire wearables market since a post holiday peak. Fitbit, Jawbone, Samsung, and Garmin continue to see the most of this waning attention, while Microsoft saw its short lived attention fall off in December. Despite the much anticipated release of the Apple Watch in late April, supply problems have prevented Apple from immediately dominating the market.
Fitbit continues to hold the most mindshare in the Wearables market, but their lagging presence outside of fitness bands and the seemingly constant stream of several small brands throughout the market has contained their monopoly of the consumer’s minds. While brands like Misfit, Microsoft, and Pivotal Living saw short lived boosts in attention, Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, and Jawbone see rather consistent streams of consumer feedback to lead mindshare in the market.
The most popular wearables brands tended to see lower delight, while more niche brands are satisfying the few customers who provide them with feedback. Thalmic Labs impressed their users with the Myo Gesture Control Armband. Their product is only available to buy through their site or Amazon, and this exclusivity has created a directed relationship with consumers by shunning the traditional retail experience. Aside from the Myo Band, the other most delightful brands produced happy consumers with smartwatches, as the Asus Zen Watch, Martian Notifier, and Moto 360 all saw increasingly positive feedback. Microsoft was a top delighter last month, but their feedback remained rather consistent as other brands saw improvement to fly past their stagnant delight score.
Amazon and Best Buy continue to be the most popular wearables retailers, as consumer shun the purchase process through carriers like ATT and Verizon. Though the feedback comes in low volumes, the few French consumers who reviewed their wearables through Cdiscount and Pixmania reported the highest satisfaction, followed by Argos consumers from the UK. Worsening perception of the Moto 360 greatly affected the delight of Indian consumers who reported decreased delight while at the same time demonstrating more interest. Overall, Best Buy maintains their position as the best wearables retailer, but other stores are better delighting consumers in lower volumes.
Looking to the most discussed usage scenarios of Fitness Bands and Smartwatches, it is clear that wearables consumers remain highly concerned with battery life and the quality of the tiny little wrist worn screens. Applications are top of mind for fitness band users, who are primarily concerned with tracking their steps and calories. There is a clear difference in Smartwatch usage, as these users are most interested in, and fairly frustrated with, texting and alerting. Fitness Band and Smartwatch consumers do however agree on their love for accurate heartbeat monitors and mutual infatuation with apps, but manufacturers of all wearables should work to improve alerting functionality and battery life.
Social media conversation demonstrates a persistent interest in Smartwatch news. People love to talk about the next new device, whether it be a WiFi enabled storage watch kick-starter, or a mood displaying social promoter, they are excited about the new possibilities. Aside from talk of the latest Smartwatch features, the potential of wearables in the medical space is also capturing attention.
Consumer interest in the wearables market has been steadily dropping off, but the big dogs like Fitbit, Garmin, Samsung, and Jawbone still see a majority of the shrinking mindshare, while less popular brands are driving delight.
Argus Insights tracks consumer perception across the entire wearables market to gain insight and coach our clients to develop better products and surpass their competition. Let us know how we can help your company.
The Smart Home is becoming a reality with the introduction of connected lights, plugs, lamps, refrigerators, coffee makers, thermostats, security systems, and so much more. Consumers can increasingly turn to technology to ensure that their home is safe and efficient, yet, they aren’t.
Consumer reviews of connected home devices have been consistently decreasing since January of this year, and in our experience, less reviews equals less demand, which equals less sales. Though there have been several projections of IoT growth, it appears that after Home Automation peaked the interest of early adopters in 2014, typical consumers are not currently compelled to purchase connected home devices…and who can blame them? Connected devices have been plagued with connectivity and usage issues that are arguably causing more trouble than they are worth. In a market segment with so much potential for change, consumers are waiting for a polished product that does not skip footage when the WiFi disconnects or force them to use their smartphone to open their front door.
Canary is an all-in-one do-it-yourself home security system. With several sensors packed into one device, Canary “blends deep learning technology with human-centered design to solve problems that all people share.” This idea of using technology to solve human problems has propelled this company through a wildly successful Indiegogo campaign and recent hefty series B funding. Now that the product is on the market, consumers are intrigued. Canary is seeing growing interest and delight from consumers, while the rest of the market is losing attention.
The connected home market is full of potential, but companies must ensure that they are addressing human needs, and most importantly making life easier instead of introducing technological barriers along with innovation.
Canary is seeing initial positive response for their efforts, and Argus Insights will continue to track consumer perception of the entire Home Automation Market. Keep updated with our free weekly newsletters in the Home Automation, Wearables, Smartphone, and SDN & NFV markets.
As the Internet of Things continues to grow with the introduction of more and more connected devices, the opportunities to integrate technology into everyday life seem to be increasing exponentially. This growth is coupled with growing reputability, as major players like Samsung and Google acquire smaller Home Automation companies.
In 2014, Samsung acquired SmartThings, maker of home security kits focused on the ability to self monitor, and Google acquired the smart thermostat company Nest, and shortly after that, the WiFi security camera company Dropcam just months later.
The clout of the Samsung and Google names did little to increase consumer awareness, as all three acquired companies saw relatively steady volumes of consumer feedback after they were acquired (as demonstrated by the size of the bubbles in the graph above). Technology is still very much improving and developing in the home automation market, and Samsung and Google have assumed powerful positions in potentially driving further connectivity in this market, but are failing to gain the attention of consumers.
Now that large companies are becoming more intimately involved in the expansion of the Internet of Things, they must focus on promoting the usefulness of ‘smart home’ technology, as it is no longer a relic of the SciFi genre, but an actual possibility with the potential to help home owners save energy, money, time, and piece of mind.