retail news in context, analysis with attitude

The Wall Street Journal this morning reports that while "computer chips and wireless communications are being added to everything from doorknobs to dog collars," as technology companies look to get a piece of what is commonly referred to as the "connected home," there seems to be some resistance among mainstream consumers to these advances.

The Journal says that the caution seems to be related to concerns about hacking, which has been much in the news of late, as well as worries that government and business interests could use the smart home devices to gather information about the people who live there.

Indeed, the story says that "a survey of 28,000 consumers in 28 countries being released Tuesday by Accenture LLP found that 47% of respondents pointed to security and privacy as potential obstacles to adopting such technology.

"Among people planning to buy smart-home gadgets in the next 12 months, a significant number chose to be cautious about using them or postponed purchases, while 18% had quit using them or terminated services for lack of security guarantees, the consulting firm said. The survey found that only about 9% of respondents—about the same as a 2014 survey—planned to purchase connected devices this year."

However, these "headwinds," as they are described by the Journal, do not seem to have damped the enthusiasm for such products among exhibitors at this week's Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, where "popular categories include Internet-connected sprinklers, pool monitors, security cameras, door locks, fans, blinds, washing machines, ovens and garage-door openers."
KC's View:
No real surprise that some consumers are leery, but it also should not come as a surprise when these technologies hit a tipping point and acceptance comes faster and more widespread than expected. That just seems to be the way thing go.

I do think there is a real opportunity for companies to establish a beachhead as being able to implement and coordinate all these connections. We got a Nest, but couldn't get the damn thing to work, and couldn't find a company able to help us. Not sure who is best positioned to do it, but affordable smart-home consultants might find a goldmine waiting for them.