In the last decade, advances in mobile technology have made it easier for consumers to talk, listen, stream, record, and shop on the go, ushering in the “app mentality” that we can access goods, services and information, on-demand, anywhere, anytime. But the app mentality isn’t just confined to apps on mobile phones; we are beginning to see the connected home as another ecosystem where connected apps are bringing new value-added services to consumers and adoption is occurring at a rapid pace.
For me, a self-admitted tech early-adopter, I take a great deal of enjoyment in testing out the latest connected gadgets, and I easily have a dozen apps on my phone that link to various connected devices throughout my home. From smart appliances like refrigerators and washing machines, to home security systems and thermostats, the connected home is quickly becoming the standard for all consumers – not just the tech geeks like myself. As these devices continue to gain adoption, consumers are facing increased complexity in managing and maintaining their “smart homes” and getting the most out of their connected devices.
We wondered how the smart home would become connected, and just how much technical complexity consumers are willing to take on themselves, so CSG International partnered with an independent research firm to develop a study, The Future of Digital Experience: Connected Services Edition. The study evaluated how consumers expect to handle the growing complexity being brought about by the IoT. CSG surveyed 2,000 consumers who use cable, satellite or other paid television service across five countries (US, Brazil, Mexico, Malaysia and Australia), and the output from this survey was extremely telling in terms of the support consumers want in adapting to the connected world. Some of the most interesting findings include:
- Self-install guides won’t cut it for the connected home: While self-install tutorials and video guides have gained popularity in recent years, the growing number of connected devices can pose a challenge to the average consumer in managing digital complexity. When it comes to support in managing these devices, our survey found that cable and satellite providers have an opportunity to support the growing presence of IoT devices – with 89% of consumers noting they would be very likely to call on a service technician to troubleshoot and/or repair device issues if it was offered by their provider.
- Consumers want support, even for simpler IoT connections: While many smart home devices market themselves as simple and intuitive, tracking and managing these devices in various applications can be a nightmare for consumers – especially for consumers at varying degrees on the spectrum of being “tech-savvy.” According to our survey, the overwhelming majority (84%) of consumers believe that consumers will want help from a skilled technical resource to connect just two to five devices. In addition, respondents reported that they believe 67% of consumers will be not at all confident in doing complex installations on their own, and 44% believe that consumers will be only somewhat confident to complete even simple (single device) installs on their own.
- The Uber effect extends to the connected home. On-demand apps like Uber, Instacart, Task Rabbit and so on, redefined the consumer approach to real-time service. The survey showed that this isn’t just limited to transportation or food delivery, but can extend to technology repair and setup in the home as well. More than a third (39%) of respondents believe consumers will want an on-demand installation or repair service half to three-quarters of the time, and 96% of respondents think that consumers will want an app to access all of their connected devices from a central location. Also, it is worth noting that the majority of respondents (58%) feel that reputation is the most important criteria in evaluating technical help – outweighing both on-demand access and low cost.
What does all this mean for Pay-TV providers?
As adoption of connected home devices continues to grow, traditional cable and satellite providers have the opportunity to take action now to help support consumers in managing the growing IoT home ecosystem. In my next blog, I’ll be exploring what providers can do to prepare their operations and serve the expanding needs of the connected consumer.
You can also view the full report and key takeaways here.