The Dream (or Nightmare) of the Connected Home

Published by Tom Foster June 13, 2017

The Dream

Imagine all the tasks that you must do to keep your house (and life) running: Washing, drying and folding laundry, pressing fresh juice, planning what to wear, vacuuming and mopping, brewing coffee in the morning, watering the garden, doing the dishes, feeding the dog… Now imagine all of those are automated and are proactively completed without you having to ask. Pretty nice, right?

As someone who regularly travels around the world visiting product companies, I dream of the day that my home works for me instead of the other way around.  The perfect smart home makes life easier. It works for you, proactively helping you without your interference or prodding. We aren’t quite there yet, but every day we get a little closer to making this a reality.

As close as we are to creating a true Smart Home, there are risks that will challenge the future of Smart Homes.

The Nightmare

You changed your Wi-Fi password and forgot about updating your connected products. You’re locked out of your house, your security alarms are blaring, coffee is spewing from the machine, sprinklers are flooding your backyard. Chaos ensues.

Most likely, coffee won’t be flying around the kitchen because your Smart Home goes offline, but in a world (that’s quickly approaching) where we own 50+ connected products, losing Wi-Fi could seriously disrupt our daily lives.

Overcoming the Challenges

Today, I own around 10 smart home products including a TV, printer, security camera, vacuum and speaker. Getting them online in the first place was an ordeal. Download the app, turn on the device, exit the app, go to settings, re-enter the app, enter Wi-Fi name and password, check under the router for the password because I entered it incorrectly, hit submit again and pray. Repeat process.

 Everyone who owns a connected device has felt the frustration that comes with trying to connect a product to Wi-Fi.  Today, the average consumer owns a couple connected devices. They feel the pain of setting up the product, but they’ve only had to do it once or twice. 

The more products that the customer is investing in, the bigger the burden of connecting and reconnecting the devices to Wi-Fi.  The annoyance is compounded. Customers will look out for products that are simple to connect and that will stay connected. No one wants to spend a week reconnecting 40 products (especially if you’ve just come off a flight from Hong Kong.)

It’s a big barrier to adoption for the product companies who are creating these innovative solutions. Wi-Fi onboarding is the number one issue that customers have and if we don’t solve it now, the market will not grow.

At Cirrent, we have a solution to this problem. We provide secure and simple connections for these products. The solution is easy for product companies to implement and even easier for the end consumer to use, which in turn improves product reviews, increases sales and decreases returns and support costs.  It’s a win-win for all involved.  Not only does it make Wi-Fi onboarding easy, our technology keeps customers offline if the password is changed or any other issue that disrupts service.

I haven’t given up hope for my dream smart home, but until more product companies get on board with making improved Wi-Fi onboarding a priority, my dream won’t be reality.

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