Beacon @ CES: Building trust in Smart Home

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  • Andrea Smith – Tech journalist
  • Ohad Amir-CTO Essence
  • Michelle Guss Director- Crestron Electronics
  • Michael Mahan -Schneider Electric 

As Smart Home specialists and enthusiasts, Building Trust in Smart Home was an unmissable session for us. As we move into a new era of smart home, building trust will be crucial for increasing adoption – but how can we do it effectively?

How do we define a smart or connected home

One of the big themes we’ve been expecting is leveling up “smart” homes so that they are intelligent. Michelle Guss kicked off this discussion by noting that Crestron has been focused on making things in the home automated. In fact, Ohad Amir goes as far as to say that smart home needs to be intelligent in order to warrant the name. Why am I having to ask my light to turn on every day at 8pm, asks Michael Mahan: the house should just know. In short, it’s not just about control; there needs to be some level of intelligence. 

Michelle and Michael also drew attention to the desire for wellness in the home: people are interested in things like air quality, energy and water usage, and lighting as a natural consequence of spending so much time in the house. 

How do we address compatibility and consumers confusion? 

We’ve mentioned on our podcast how consumers are willing to trade a level of privacy for an additional benefit, but Michael reminds us that making them feel secure is a crucial part of the education piece surrounding the industry. According to Ohad, using the Cloud raises a red flag for many users – something Essence has been trying to work around in recent months. 

Trust is the cornerstone of the entire Smart Home industry. Without trust, says Michael, we prevent people from getting the full benefit of Smart Home. The industry as a whole most err on the side of bias towards more consumer privacy and transparency as it is these two qualities that will accelerate the adoption of these devices and technologies. 

Trust vs perceived risk

Consumers need to have confidence that they’re sharing their data with a reputable company, and that this data will still be protected, says Michelle; this knowledge will make users more willing to exchange for better experiences. Her advice for brands is to be more open about their privacy and date rules, and spend time on building their reputation within the market. You’ll also need to educate your consumer on the devices they can add to their existing system, and take responsibility  for those connected devices.

Convenience will always be key, but never forget that consumers want control. Building your brand and your external positioning with this in mind can only be beneficial to you in the long run.