Survey: Smart Home Apps Don’t Bring Much ‘Delight’ to Many Consumers

A new report by Argus Insights suggests disappointing apps diminish user experience, may cause decline in consumer “delight” over time.

LOS GATOS, Calif. – A new report from Argus Insights, based here, shows that consumers are overall more frustrated with smart home software apps that dictate, schedule and manage accompanying hardware devices than with the actual devices themselves.

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Previous Argus Insights reports looked at the hardware component and the challenges and irritations customers were experiencing with installation and connectivity, but this new analysis introduces a new data set that shows consumers are experiencing even more issues with the apps that run these devices.

The research firm said its survey data was compiled from nearly 50,000 smart home device and app reviews from August 2015 to the present. The report states, “[T]he incumbent home security companies like ADT, Comcast and AT&T are failing to delight consumers with their apps while the more innovative and newer smart home-focused companies like Vivint and Honeywell appear to be cultivating a more synchronized hardware and software ecosystem and are doing better among consumers.”

“Companies that have aligned their entire ecosystem to delight consumers will outperform the rest of the market in the long term. Look how Honeywell came from behind to beat Nest with an overall better experience,” says John Feland, CEO and founder, Argus Insights.

Security Remains Key Driver to Smart Home Device Adoption

The research firm said it discovered “while software is very important in the consumer perception of the smart home experience, it is sometime very different from consumer perception of corresponding hardware.”

To corroborate the findings, Argus Insights cited the following example: “Philips devices receive a higher ‘delight’ score than Honeywell devices, but Honeywell’s apps are the ‘most delightful’ ” … while “Philips apps are the ‘least liked.’ This scenario results in Honeywell providing a better overall experience across the entire smart home ecosystem, while Philips consumers report a foreboding gap in the experience between hardware and software.”

“Companies like Philips must mind the gap between the devices and the experience of using the app,” says Feland. “Once consumers have installed and connected their device, the app becomes the primary touch point for their new smart home. Unfortunately, our analysis shows a looming lag in app experience which are a blemish on an otherwise improving end-to-end user experience.”

View charts from the Argus Insights report.

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