Over the past few years, consumers have started to recognize the convenience and cost-saving benefits of smart home technologies, but adoption has been slow, especially compared to the amount of investment money being poured into the industry. According to Business Insider, “the smart home market is stuck in the ‘chasm’ of the technology adoption curve, in which it is struggling to surpass the early-adopter phase and move to the mass-market phase of adoption.” But what’s the largest barrier to mass market smart home adoption? Is it high prices? Cybersecurity? Limited demand? Nope, it’s not any of those. Rather, research has found that the largest barrier to smart home adoption is…interoperability (a fancy word for how devices work together and communicate with each other).
At the moment, consumers view the smart home as fragmented, and many aren’t willing to invest in any smart home devices until all the kinks are worked out. In an insightful article posted to IoT Agenda, analyst Jessica Groopman sees the current state of the smart home as “just a bunch of smart endpoints” which ultimately is hurting the smart home industry:
The very design of connected products requires interoperability in terms of connectivity, communications and integration protocols. Products should be simple to connect. Period. Despite the reality of a painful lack of standards across devices and industries, the need to equip physical products with connectivity and communications flexibility sets both an immediate and long-term value proposition in place (IoT Agenda).
When smart home companies invest in interoperability, the users win. As Groopman notes: “open integration and interoperability is really about curating a customer-first relationship.” In a previous blog post, I responded to CNBC Technology Product Editor, Todd Haselton, and his irritation that smart home products don’t work together. This sentiment is being felt by consumers across the globe, causing it to be the single greatest barrier to smart home adoption:
Currently, there are many networks, standards, and devices being used to connect the smart home, creating interoperability problems and making it confusing for the consumer to set up and control multiple devices. Until interoperability is solved, consumers will have difficulty choosing smart home devices and systems (Business Insider).
Wouldn’t it be great if everyone just learned to get along? At Blackfire Research, interoperability is our game. A few years back, founder and CEO, Ravi Rajapakse, became frustrated – much like Haselton, Groopman, and countless other smart home gadget enthusiasts – when he realized that there was no seamless way to transfer and share entertainment media throughout his own home. The culmination of 10 years of research is a revolutionary new protocol, The Blackfire Realtime Entertainment Distribution (RED) framework, which can stream 5.1 audio channels and 4K video, simultaneously, across multiple devices – all over the standard WiFi you already have. As well as connecting smart home devices like light bulbs, thermostats and door locks, Blackfire also works as a bridge between your smart home and your entertainment systems – with precise synchronization, low latency for lip sync, and overall reliability. Because, as the research shows, that is exactly what smart home owners want – to be able to mix and match devices that can all work together, while having their music and movies available to them anywhere in the home.
At Blackfire Research, we’re ahead of the curve: we know what smart home owners want and what technological barriers need to be crossed to make smart home adoption mainstream. That’s why all Blackfire enabled products are interoperable cross brands, so you don’t have to worry about your smart devices not working together. Look for our logo on select Harman/Kardon, Onkyo, Pioneer, Integra and HTC devices.