While much of the Smart Home market is focused on Do It Yourself, there has also been robust demand within the Do It For Me part of the market supported by Smart Home Service providers like Vivint or Comcast Xfinity Home. While overall consumer interest declined in Q1 2017 over Q4 2016, March 2017 saw a significant increase over February 2017, indicating that a combination of spring promotions and increased interest in Do It For Me based on holiday DIY experiments.
Vivint clearly wins out for the overall consumer demand during Q1. Most service provider customers write reviews soon after they sign up or after a new version of the App has been released. We can see from the graph above that Vivint leads the overall tally of quarterly mindshare but lags a bit behind Comcast with respect to Net Promoter Score. AT&T is still in the mix but has more frustrated consumers than Comcast or Vivint. In March, Vivint saw improvements in their UX while Comcast dropped over the quarter so they they are within 1% of NPS from each other.
When we dig deeper into how consumers report using their Smart Home with their lives, it should come as no surprise that Home Security is the most discussed usage scenario. Securing your home is still the main reason consumers sign up for Do It For Me services though you can see this shifting for Vivint as they list Climate Control more than any other service provider. AT&T customers are clearly grump about their security and entry control experience with Digital Life. Comcast customers are focused on Security almost to the exclusion of other scenarios though Xfinity customers mention monitoring their pets more than AT&T or Vivint customers.
Customers of Do It For Me tend to value Customer Service in their selection of service providers. While consumers do not mention their experience with Customer Service as much as other topics, you can see a definite correlation between the service provider’s Net Promoter Score and the consumer perception of their customer service experience. AT&T has the most negative mentions of the top three service providers. Vivint has more negative comments than Xfinity but also more positive. Vivint is also the only provider with a net positive perception of the Quality of Customer Service, a surprising outcome to be sure.
Of course we have more data behind just this basic analysis. Quotes from consumers on specific issues, comments on the installation process and more, with data going back literally years to assess the impact of changes and new innovations being unleashed on the Smart Home market. You can get access to these tools yourself, using the Argus Analyzer. Learn more by clicking below.
Smart Lock interest grew in 2017 as consumers holiday purchases turned into Saturday morning honey-dos. The big winners in Q1 were Schlage, August and Kwikset. The rest of the competitive landscape is littered with products that have been disappointing consumers persistently.
Schlage is leaps and bounds ahead of their competition, not only seeing increases in both buzz and perceived UX, but also almost double the demand of their closest competitor. Wow. What is Schlage doing to consistently beat out their traditional competition like Kwikset and Yale as well as the newcomers like August and Aeon Labs?
Well, it’s not their app. Schlage is lacking on the App side of the Smart Lock experience. August does a better job of delighting consumers with their app interface and their integration with Comcast Xfinity Home. Schlage and Kwikset, traditional hardware (yes, they actually cut and cast metal to make their products) companies have been lacking in their app ecosystem for Smart Lock customers.
So why do consumers love Schlage locks but hate the apps? Why isn’t August dominating if their App is so much better? Turns out installation is important. When we dig into the details of how consumers talk about the installation experience a deeper story emerges…
Schlage is just simply easier to install. Schlage customers are frustrated (the red bar) half as much as their competition. They are almost twice as delighted by the installation experience as August. Simplicity sells, period. When we look at both August and Kwikset, we see frustrations with the initial router connection, software/app issues as well as issues around wiring and help from the company itself with installation. That means that both August and Kwikset could gain on Schlage by just improving their out of the box experience. That’s it!
Want more? Want to dig deeper to understand who is using these locks? What to see how August is performing across their products? You can get access to these tools yourself, using the Argus Analyzer. Learn more by clicking below.
If you are currently trusting the future of your enterprise to market intelligence gained from polls and surveys, the results of this election should terrify you. Not for the outcome but for the failure of polls to deliver their promised certainty of the outcome. The 2016 election will go down as the day that polls failed us, or at least failed to represent what was actually happening in the population. FiveThirtyEight and the wunderkind Nate Silver, for literally years the most trusted analyst in politics because of his big data approach to predicting outcomes, published this prediction ahead of the polls opening Tuesday:
FiveThirtyEight.org’s Prediction of The 2016 Election Outcome as polls opened on Tuesday based on analysis of polls. Remember this is a likelihood measurement, not a guaranteed prediction.
The final electoral map from the New York Times showing where key states flipped in directions options of what the polls were indicating. Much of the momentum behind the polling activity missed the actual votes completely.
Now in Nate’s defense, this wasn’t a zero chance of Trump’s win. 538 did suggest that Trump had a 28.6% chance of getting at least the necessary 270 electoral votes to clinch the presidency. But what the polls were telling us along with this analysis is that it was unlikely that Trump would win. As it turned out, the polls were not an accurate reflection of the population. Polls have become the buggy whips of Market Intelligence, useful during their time but if you’ve ever tried to whip your Prius to make it go faster, that’s equivalent to using a survey to instrument your market. While this has been spoken of in dark (and light) corners for years, this was a complete breakdown of our ability to instrument populations with any appreciable accuracy. And since many survey companies stake their ability to represent populations based on their success in predicting election outcomes, we have a problem.
We have spent decades trusting our politics, our products, our marketing, our movies, our futures to the results of surveys and polls. Companies and political action committees alike spend billions every year on constant surveys of their target populations of customers/voters. Tuesday’s outcome indicated what a colossal waste of time and money that is. That these methods no longer reflect, with any useful accuracy, what is actually happening in the market place. With all the talk of voter fraud, we should spend more time looking at the fraud perpetuated by polls and surveys. These methods lead to a blindness on the part of the organizations that commission them. Nokia was blinded by their own surveys to the threat of Apple and the iPhone. Axe Body Spray was blind to the misogyny their ad campaigns rained down on half the population when they tried to launch their first odor (scent) for women. And now we have evidence that polls contributed to the blindness the media and the Clinton campaign had to the real strength of Trump’s support.
From the beginning Argus Insights has focused on building metrics based on “Should” rather than “Could.” Heavily influenced by my time at IDEO and Stanford’s d.school, we have always centered on observation over stimulation, listening over asking, because, like Heisenberg’s famous uncertainty principle (not meth recipe), the very act of taking a poll changes the validity of the answers given to a pollster. We do not prove our performance by showing our ability to predict elections, but showing how our metrics align with consumer acceptance. Companies need to open their eyes to their actual consumers, across the entire market, not just those willing to reflect your opinion foisted on them through constant surveys. Polls have proven to be a waste of resources, both time and money. Now we risk our future if we continue to rely on these inaccurate methods of instrumenting populations. Instrumenting the actions consumers take across the entire market is the key to avoiding brand blindness and it is something we have spent the last seven years perfecting here at Argus Insights. How else have we been able to beat Wall Street analyst estimates of iPhone sales almost every quarter for the last five years? We listen and observe, we don’t poke and frustrate. And as a result, we have a pretty accurate crystal ball.
If you want to join the post poll movement or just ask questions about how we whip up our secret sauce, let me know. Our goal from the beginning has been to put into the hands of decision makers the best evidence for driving innovation and growth. With our new Argus Analyzer toolset, we’ve made taking that first step even easier.
January 7, 2016
The Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas is in full swing! Here at Argus Insights, we have boots on the ground and eyes on all the virtual conversations! Sign up below to receive free daily updates that will keep you informed of who and what is leading Smart Home discussion at CES 2016.
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Google just announced some major updates to its Android Wear operating system, including the ability to tether to your Android handset over wifi instead of bluetooth, some new wrist gestures guaranteed to put you on TSA’s watch list, and a redesign of the way that apps are accessed and used, including a feature that let’s apps keep the screen on by default, something great for runners, especially for distances less than a mile given the battery life impact. All-in-all it looks more like a collection of technology “coulds” rather than any coherent view of what you “should” use Android Wear to augment your life in compelling ways.
The shift in app navigation at least acknowledges a complaint we’ve seen surface over and over again with consumers. Something I referred to at my keynote at Wearables Techcon as the “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” problem: the incessant need to swipe your way to the app/feature/photo you want ensures endless hours of pawing at your wrist like a dog begging to be let out.
There has to be a better way to navigate wearable devices…
Apple would have us ignore the last 8 years of training that a light touch on your iPhone was enough to control the known universe, and instead has introduced ForceTap on the Apple Watch. Apple has improved upon the one dimension of Android Wear’s Row Row Row your way through screens and instead would have us scrub through a constellation of application icons, the only way to activate one is by ensuring the desired app is in the center and then executing that new party trick, a Force Tap. The light taps so cleverly used on our touchscreens and touchpads alike ensure the object of desire is obscured only for an instant while you get along with your life. ForceTap requires you to add an extra step with a grunt for flourish as you dwell over the very thing you want to see. Sure, ForceTap promises to virtually eliminate the accidental activation that kept you from three stars on level 97 on Angry Birds Star Wars, but it is the equivalent of telling the Google Car to drive where you can’t see.
We’ve seen some technology that points towards a future where wearables react to our intent rather than continued pawing in one or two dimensions on the surface. It’s coming, soon, but I can’t reveal it just yet.
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