Brands Look For Insights On Smart Homes; Voice Control Seen As Key In Test

Smart homes are obviously still in the early days.

A consumer may get a smart thermostat or lights that can be controlled by smartphone, but we’re still quite a ways from totally connected homes.

But many major brands are anxious to see how smart homes evolve, so that their products and services are assured a fit in that new world.

It looks like consumers still need some education around the complexities and nuances of smart home technology, based on the results of eight months of testing smart home devices by CNET, which had set up a testing lab in Louisville.

Brands behind the testing include P&G, Coldwell Banker, Travelers, Lexus, Duracell and Value City Furniture.

The team of six editors reviewed more than 40 smart home products and found the biggest labor intensive areas involved lighting, smoke detectors, thermostats, locks and garage doors.

A so-called smart home is just one that has smart or Internet-connected devices that can be controlled or automated remotely, typically with a smartphone or tablet.

The testing criteria involved determining whether the product functioned as described, if it integrated well with other smart home platforms, how intuitive the software was, the reliability of the networking connection and how expansive were the product features and capabilities compared to those of competitors, according to CNET.

Voice control and activation technology were found to be critically important and the foundation for collaboration within a smart home.

The testers selected what they concluded were the top products matching the criteria, which were Amazon Echo, Ecobee 3 thermostat, Philips Hue lights, Belkin WeMo light switch, Nest Cam security camera, Garageio and Chamberlain MyQ garage door openers, Nest smoke alarm, Neato Botvac connected vacuum and the Roost smart battery.

Additional findings include that if someone is outfitting their home themselves, they should expect to manage multiple smart home platforms and voice control makes it easy for multi-person households to control the technology.

A smart home may end up becoming that way one connected object at a time. 

7 comments about "Brands Look For Insights On Smart Homes; Voice Control Seen As Key In Test".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 10, 2016 at 9:34 a.m.

    I understand that they are developing "smart toilets" which will decide when the "user" is through and flush of their own accord. I wonder how many people still take their morning paper with them to the bathroom?"Smart toilets" probably will not sit still for long "reads" but maybe it doesn't mater. Who reads now, anyway?

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, May 10, 2016 at 9:36 a.m.

    Make that "matter" not "mater" in my last sentence. Sigh!

  3. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, May 10, 2016 at 9:52 a.m.

    Right, Ed, thought that tech actually was created more than 10 years ago, to provide an idea of the gap between tech development and acceptance or adoption.

  4. Leonard Zachary from T___n__, May 10, 2016 at 12:56 p.m.

    Ed you only beleive in samplings and panels of a subset of the total population. So its about 40,000 out of 320,000,000. Curation at its Best!

  5. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, May 10, 2016 at 4:56 p.m.

    This is a very weird study. I've done work in Smart Homes. Voice control is a gizmo - a gimmick. 

    However they created the idea that it's important, they've blown it. Consumers first, and foremost, are missing important reasons to give a s...t. And companies are running around heaving gizmo's at them without paying attention to delivering valuable additions to the consumer life.

    There's no link to a background research here. But this is an exceptionally suspect result in my experience (and I've been working smart home products since the early 1990's...).

  6. Chuck Martin from Chuck Martin replied, May 10, 2016 at 5:03 p.m.

    Thanks, Doug, and you are correct in that this was more of a 'products testing' situation by editors rather than a full-blown consumer study, many of which we write about here, as you likely know.

  7. Doug Garnett from Protonik, LLC, May 10, 2016 at 5:43 p.m.

    Thanks for the clarification, Chuck... Cheers...

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