Consumers Want Interoperability for the Smart Home

Sixty percent of people considering the purchase of smart home devices want those devices that work with smart products they already own, according to a new survey about smart device purchase intentions from Parks Associates.

The firm found that 64% of smart speaker owners planning to buy a smart home product want a device that works with the speaker. The study – “Race to Control the Smart Home Ecosystem: Attracting Partners” – found that purchase intentions for smart home products increased from 35% in 2016 to 43% at the end of last year.

“The smart home ecosystem is crowded with many leading devices, including smart thermostats, networked cameras, smart video doorbells, smart door locks, and smart light bulbs,” Chris O’Dell, a Research Associate for Parks Associates, said in a press release. “As interoperability continues to increase in importance, companies that are vertically aligned or have the right ‘works with’ partnerships will have an advantage among likely buyers.”

The clear implication of the study is important for vendors and service providers: The category is taking off and it’s a good idea for players in the ecosystem to play well with others. The finding that less than 40% of potential purchasers will consider a non-interoperable device should raise red flags to vendors that lack key interoperability.

The idea that people will look to buy from the same vendor whose products they already own may be because they are satisfied with the product’s performance. It also may be that people simply are more comfortable with a product they know. In the bigger picture, however, it may be that a growing number of people are looking to network devices in their home and assume – probably correctly – that buying from the same vendor will avoid compatibility problems. More indirectly, it suggests that consumers are quickly becoming more sophisticated.


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