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Why Consumers Haven’t Fully Adopted IoT Devices

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Internet of things (IoT) devices offer an innovative blend of digital and physical functionality, but most consumers are content to do without.

According to a recent IoT technology survey from Clutch, consumers often unwittingly purchase an IoT device because that’s how many devices come now (i.e., smart TVs).

That’s not to say that people don’t value or intentionally purchase IoT technology.

For example, nearly half of smart speakers owners say their devices are essential to their lives, according to Edison Research.

This article explores the top 3 reasons why the adoption of IoT devices is sluggish:

  1. The value of IoT technology isn’t always obvious
  2. Devices aren’t designed for integration
  3. Connectivity issues

People Consider IoT Devices Unnecessary

Most people don’t need an IoT device to live their everyday lives.

One reason for this is that the value propositions for many IoT devices are lackluster. Specifically, people don’t find that IoT devices don’t solve problems that they regularly experience.

Despite the huge sums spent to market these devices, consumers typically adopt only those that provide real value, either in dollars or utility.

“For some, connected devices are just nice to have. They could make do without them,” said Bob Klein, CEO & Founder of Digital Scientists, in the Clutch report.

Consider the value of owning a smart oven or refrigerator. The “smart” functionalities of these devices make some tasks for convenient, but the value of these tasks may not be worth the cost of replacing a functional “legacy” appliance.

Discovery and retention are also major hurdles for IoT development companies to deal with.

According to Recode, the average amount of time people use the apps they download on app on a Google Home or Amazon Echo is less than two weeks for a whopping 97% of users.

This means that IoT developers have a very narrow window to convince people to use their product.

If a product’s benefits are marginal, such as dimming the lights, it may not motivate long-term usage of an IoT device or application.

Some devices, however, are valuable enough, relative to the required investment, that people are willing to own and regularly use.

Smart speakers are an example of this sort of device. While they may not be considered essential, their low price point motivates investment (Google Home Mini and Amazon Echo Dots can retail for under $50).

IoT companies need to develop products that focus on user-oriented product design to demonstrate the everyday value their devices can deliver to users. Demonstrating their value can then help earn loyal customer over time.

IoT Devices Are Often Inconvenient

IoT devices don’t always deliver the convenience people relish with consumer technology. If a connected device is more complicated to use than the existing alternative, people won’t use it.

Many IoT products ask users to create accounts, learn new interfaces, and wade through jargon to access smart features.

The challenge of onboarding new users to IoT technology is a challenge for IoT product designers, especially since the true benefits of IoT technology are experienced when devices are connected with each other.

Rather than tackle a nebulous setup process, people prefer to stick with known usage patterns.

Consumers crave simplicity and will ignore processes that may distract rather than enhance from the regular tasks they use devices to accomplish.

The most popular IoT products offer a streamlined user interface and an intuitive user experience (UX). The concept is easily understood, such as pairing a speaker with a computer.

When the UX of an IoT device is simplified it becomes functional, appealing, and convenient to users.

IoT Devices Suffer From Lack of Connectivity

Connecting IoT devices to one another can be a chore.

Often, the software of connected devices is developed by different companies and not designed to connect with the devices from outside manufacturers.

In addition, critical components of IoT devices and technology such as processors are supplied by third-party vendors, which can make it difficult to integrate the pieces into a seamless and reliable user experience.

As a result, people often use connected devices in a singular way and not to their most connected potential.

For example, a smart-home user with smart lighting may need to use two apps to operate all their lights. This sort of clunky UX disincentives users by undercutting any convenience available in the device.

As hardware gets replaced and software updates are released, the interoperability of IoT will increase, which will allow more people to experience the benefit of convenience and interoperability that IoT promises.

IoT Adoption Will Increase in the Future

As connectivity and UX improve, IoT devices will become more widely used.

While current IoT technology is used singularly, challenges with value, onboarding, connectivity,  convenience, and interoperability will subside, which will allow for more people to use and benefit from IoT devices.

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