The market for connected “smart” devices for the home and automobiles is expanding and its momentum is likely to increase throughout 2017 and beyond. Industry research firm Forrester predicts this growth will come both from IoT devices replacing existing products in consumers’ homes and from new categories of devices, with the latter driving the fastest growth. We are already seeing evidence of this trend. Indeed, some 68 percent of CES attendees polled by OCF reported that they already owned three or more connected devices, while 80 percent said they were evaluating devices and planned to make a purchasing decision within the next six months.
What the OCF survey also revealed, however, is that while major companies including Amazon and Google are making significant headway in the connected home device market, most consumers are not yet ready to swear loyalty to any one brand. Just 33 percent of survey respondents said that the brand or manufacturer of a device was “very important” and that they only buy from brands they trust. This suggests that most consumers will purchase devices from a variety of manufacturers; yet tellingly, those same consumers also expect the devices they buy to work together. Fully 63 percent of survey respondents said it was “very important” that their devices interoperate and communicate seamlessly with each other, while 37 percent cited lack of interoperability as the single biggest limiting factor to universal device adoption.
Survey respondents further identified open, common industry standards as a key factor in ensuring the interoperability between devices that they demand. Currently, IoT vendors are faced with multiple, competing de facto standards and protocols from which they must choose, causing fragmentation in the marketplace that often hampers the ability of devices from multiple manufacturers to interoperate. Of those surveyed at CES, 73 percent responded that industry standards are “very important” to technology innovation.
What’s more, respondents believed collaboration between device vendors could yield benefits in multiple areas, with improving ease of use leading the pack at 40 percent, followed by improved interoperability at 32 percent and security at 21 percent. On the security front, survey respondents voiced overwhelming support for industry security ratings or certifications, with 60 percent reporting that they would be “much more likely” to purchase a device that carried such a certification. Based on these results, it is clear that the notion of industry players working together to achieve common goals enjoys broad support among customers in the market for connected devices and appliances for their homes and cars.