I think at this time, you have to be motivated to engage in smart home innovations. The cost is not trivial, especially if you get Philips light bulbs, or the ST outlets (ouch). And though the technology is getting very simple, it’s still a bit intimidating for the absolute tech newbie.
Where the smart home companies need to focus for new consumers is people who are interested, but aren’t necessarily geeks. In other words: they need to provide excellent how-tos and recipes, superior communication with the consumers, as well as intuitive UI for their apps. At a minimum, a visual graph of the app’s UI (menu, options, etc) would be helpful.
From this “study”, which only followed one person and is too limited to be useful, we never get the impression this person was ever that interested in smart home technologies. Well, you’re never going to make anything smart enough to help the disinterested. Wait until they see the fun all their friends and family are having, and they’ll come around eventually.
But the companies do need to make the integration and set up easier for the “non-geek but still interested”.
I found the new Smart Things hub to be easy to set up, but the interface isn’t necessarily intuitive. The documentation at this site is hard to find. The site is too focused on sales, not enough on support. Videos demonstrating how to do things are a must, but are missing.
Best practices should be listed. There are at least three ways I know of to get a light to come on at sunset–so which is the best way, and why?
The whole graph.smarthings.com thing–wow that is not the best way to help the non-geeks. But I can see it as being the best way to block the user from using potentially unworkable apps, until they’re familiar enough with ST so they can recover if need be. But still…the process to do something that could be fairly common, like create a virtual switch to group lights, isn’t non-tech friendly.
Where ST shines is in this community. Hands down, one of the best consumer communities I’ve ever seen–and I’ve seen a lot. The community has helped me discover everything I’ve needed in order to set up all my devices, and more importantly, integrate across systems.
ST’s employees are also exceptionally easy to work with, and helpful.
Still ST needs to improve access to documentation, including providing simple to follow UI graphs, as well as how-tos and recipes, for doing fairly common tasks. You can’t depend on consumers, only, to help other consumers. And it isn’t necessarily efficient use of resources to have employees hand-hold folks through commonly occurring tasks.
It isn’t just the non-geeks that need these things, either. One isn’t born knowing how to use the ST app even if one has been working with tech for many years.