As consumer electronics become more complex and interconnected, people are showing a desire for some sort of professional solution to assist with getting all of their devices to work together.
“The growing ecosystem of devices in the consumers’ homes has fueled the tech support, home networking opportunity for reasons which include consumers’ desire to have their devices synched to the home network and to have devices on the home network communicate with each other,” Patrice Samuels, a research analyst with Parks Associates, tells Marketing Daily. “Unless device manufacturers work together to increase compatibility among devices and make the communication process seamless, the need for professional support will increase as more devices join the connected home ecosystem.”
Currently, most people have to rely mostly on their own wits when it comes to setting up new devices. According to the research, 81% of U.S. broadband households that have purchased a new device have set up a new tablet on their own. Seventy-two percent set up their own smartphones and 60% set up their home wireless networks. This do-it-yourself ethos, however, is not particularly popular, as only a slim majority (51%) said they would prefer the method for their next setup.
What’s more, nearly three-quarters (72%) of those who expressed a desire to have some professional support wanted that service to be comprehensive in its ability to help with technology setup and workability. The category is ripe for growth, as Parks estimates tech support revenues in the U.S. will exceed $8 billion by 2017.
“While devices are becoming more intuitive, their functionality is increasing; so, while it is easier to figure out how to access the typical functions, consumers may need guidance in learning how to perform a new function on a new device,” Samuels says. “Whereas it may be [easy] to figure out how to update your calendar in your cell phone, consumers may need help figuring out how to use their cell phone as a GPS.”
Right now, a quarter of those who have networking-related problems contact their broadband service provider for help, regardless of where they purchased the home-networking equipment. In response, providers such as Comcast and CenturyLink have expanded their support offerings, at a premium. But as consumers’ electronic ecosystems grow, so will their need for higher-level support.
“Consumers want a solution that covers their support needs for all of their gadgets -- computers, tablets, and smartphones,” Samuels says. “[A majority of] consumers interested in technical support feel the services should be able to fix every technical problem they experience. Consumers will likely, therefore, gravitate to the services that are more comprehensive."