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Smart home satisfaction is hampered by a lack of interoperability, according to new research from Argus Insight. The market research company compiled more than 576,000 consumer smart home device and application reviews in producing the report titled ¨The Quest For An Intelligent Smart Home: Will One Ecosystem Rule Them All?

It’s become standard business practice, at least in the software and high-tech industry, to put initial versions of a product or service out on the market fast, preferably first, even if they’re not fully developed or proven. The stakes are particularly high in prospective multi-billion dollar mass markets, such as the smart home, where industry giants are seeking to gain a dominant position by locking out products and services developed by competitors.

In its new market research report Argus Insights found that consumers are frustrated with smart home products and services, in particular regarding the lack of interoperability of those from Apple and Google, both of whom are vying to build walled off smart home ¨ecosystems¨ based on their respective mobile and Internet platforms.

Customers are more satisfied with Amazon Echo, which they found to be both broad-based and easier to integrate, according to Argus Insights’ report.

Echo, Homekit and Works with Nest
Amazon Echo and Apple’s Homekit were the most frequently mentioned smart home ecosystems in the customer reviews, which dated from January 2015 to the present. Google’s Works with Nest was the least discussed among the major contenders.

That said, those looking to Apple products and services in building a smart home environment are frustrated that Homekit isn’t compatible with smart home devices and apps from other vendors. Apple forces users to rely on iOS devices when making use of Siri for smart home voice control, for instance, while Amazon’s Alexa is open to any device or app manufacturer willing and able to build an application programming interface (API) to it.

Argus found that Amazon Echo generated nearly the same amount of feedback from consumers recently as Homekit. Furthermore, the addition of Alexa was found to be a ¨major consumer delighter.¨

“Consumers are taking notice that Amazon is choosing a community garden strategy over a walled garden approach favored by Google and Apple,” elaborated Argus Insights CEO John Feland. ¨Consumers enter the Smart Home journey under the premise of creating an intelligent home that anticipates and serves their needs in a delightful, low maintenance manner.

¨Along this journey, after users overcome the hurdles of installation and continued use through often broken app experiences, they are confronted with a mess of protocols as they approach expansion. Consumers are dismissing Google’s Nest ecosystem play, and we are seeing a real battle between Apple’s Siri and Amazon’s Alexa for the voice of the Smart Home. While Apple forces users to rely on iOS devices, Alexa will chat up anyone willing to integrate into the Echo API.”

Other key takeaways include:

  • Good hardware is not enough to propel Nest further in the Smart Home space. Google is losing its hold on the greater Smart Home market as interest wanes in Works with Nest and Nest Weave.
  • Amazon Echo is providing a delightful Smart Home experience with broad compatibility and multi user capabilities.
  • Consumers are interested in controlling their Smart Home with Apple, but Homekit will need to continue to play nice with other brands and expand compatibility past iOS devices to compete with Amazon’s Alexa.

Join the Conversation

One thought on “Report: Smart Home Satisfaction Hampered by Lack of Interoperability

  1. I have played with every major smart home solution on the market, (SmartThings, Wink, Echo, etc). The issue is absolutely incompatible hardware and software. Amazon has the right idea by making their solution as open as possible. Tying to IFTTT allows them to touch so many other services without custom chips (ie: HomeKit). The general consumer doesn't care about Z-Wave, Zigbee, Thread or the many other protocols. Until someone can truly figure out how to integrate the popular devices and keep security a priority the adoption will continue to be slow.

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