A year ago this month, I prepared a presentation on the “State of the Smart Home,” which focused on how far voice interfaces had taken us and where they fell short. This week, I gave a quick talk to folks preparing smart home products for IKEA in which I tried to encapsulate how my thinking had changed since then.
The original presentation started off with a look at some of the challenges the market has faced since it gained new life in 2012. Among them were a lack of standards, expensive products, a dearth of clear use cases, and uncertainty about the security of devices. Today those challenges still exist, and I’ve come to realize that I was too optimistic.
I thought that we would have solved interoperability challenges by now, and made the connected home easier for mainstream consumers to adopt. I also thought the industry would have given those consumers compelling reasons to choose connected gadgets. I was wrong.
The Amazon Echo kept my faith alive for a while. I saw it as a device that could bridge the warring standards and get people excited about the smart home. I thought they’d buy the Amazon Echo and get sucked into controlling their lights or their television with their voice. From there, they might invest in some locks or a connected thermostat.