Why is home automation still not mainstream?

Written by | Updated May 9, 2019

Home automation technology hasn’t gone mainstream for several reasons, but the main issues boil down into six categories: accessibility, affordability, security, privacy, reliability, and upkeep.

Here’s a closer look at some of those concerns.

  1. Consumers Experience Interoperability Issues: The smart lightbulbs and thermostats work with the home automation hub, but the smart lock struggles to connect. As a result, the consumer uses one application to control the lights and thermostat, while needing to use another for the lock. That switching can get complex and time consuming.
  2. Home Automation Technology Remains Relatively Expensive: One gadget might not set you back much, but two or three could increase the cost dramatically. And with three or four devices, you also need a smart hub to control the products, adding to the overall cost.
  3. Security Remains a Concern: Consumers rightly fear hacks, and news about breached refrigerators or nanny cams offers little comfort. Manufacturers have made strides forward with security risks, but they’ll need to continually address any new risks to create trust with consumers.
  4. Consumers Worry about Privacy: They want to know how smart home providers access and employ their data. Smart home manufacturers and vendors will need to become more transparent about their data practices and processes to convince consumers to buy.
  5. People Express Concerns about Reliability: Smart home products could fail because of a power outage, just like traditional refrigerators or lamps. But unlike those “traditional” products, smart home devices can also fail due to poor internet connections. Manufacturers will need to offer assurances about service continuity to engender trust with potential purchasers.
  6. Product Updates and Maintenance Sometimes Irritate End Users: Some home automation devices require consumers to log in to an app and manually install updates Many consumers either miss update notifications or forget to install patches, leading to slower performance and security risks. In other instances, the product provider automates the updates, which is helpful—if the update works. When the update causes performance issues, though, consumers understandably get upset.

Though home automation technology does still have a way to go before it’s totally mainstream, it’s certainly on its way there. To learn more about the basics of home automation, check out our smart home resource page.