Future of Support and Installation in the Smart Home - Insights from Support.com

by Parks Associates | Jun. 7, 2019

Prior to Parks Associates’ 23rd-annual CONNECTIONS: The Premier Connected Home Conference, Renee Soulliard, Vice President, Marketing, Support.com spoke with the firm’s analyst team to her thoughts on the future of support and installation in the smart home.

Renee participated on the Support and Installation: Making the Smart Home Work panel on Wednesday, May 22, at 11:15 AM. Panelists who joined her on this session included:

Yuval Boger, CMO, Wi-Charge
Rob Conant, CEO, Cirrent
Tony Frangiosa, CEO, InstallerNet, Inc.
Christine King, VP, Business Strategy & Partnerships, Puls Technologies Inc.
Alton Martin, SVP Growth and Co-Founder, Trusource Labs LLC, An Everise Company

Q: As the smart home experience expands outside the home, how will the role of the car evolve as part of the smart home ecosystem?

A: The car is evolving into just another connected device in the ecosystem of the home.   Eventually you will be able to control your car through your home devices or your home from your car.  Ensuring every device is installed, set-up, configured and working correctly is important to long-term usage and value.   As the number of devices across a wide range of manufacturers, including automobile makers, interact in the same ecosystem, consumers are going to need access to customized contextual support to help them troubleshoot not only the car, but also its larger ecosystem.  As the number of devices increases and complexity grows exponentially, support needs to be a holistic offer instead of device-specific in order to meet customer expectations.  Simply validating that the one device, i.e. the car, is working properly will not resolve customer pain points that are related to the interconnectivity or interoperability of the car with other devices.  As a result, car manufacturers and support organizations are going to need to design solutions and establish partnerships that provide expertise across the entire range of connected home devices and related challenges. 

Q: What is necessary to build a seamless smart home experience that crosses brands, platforms, and ecosystems?

A: While there is no single answer for building a seamless smart home experience for consumers, there are three concepts at the core of any robust solution.

-- Intuitive design & operation: OEMs and other providers that strive to make device setup and usage as easy and simple as possible have a head start on creating a seamless experience for consumers.
-- Brand-agnostic device interoperability: In order for the experience to be truly seamless, consumers should be able to easily connect and use any device with any other device, regardless of brand or platform.
-- Expanded breadth of support: The ecosystem in which devices exist is more complex and requires having a broader understanding of the issues that consumers face when using devices from different brands together, and, most importantly, the ability to troubleshoot these issues as they arise.

Providers are making great progress in addressing these challenges, it will likely take some time to achieve a truly seamless experience from a device and operations standpoint.Along the way, it’s critical that consumers have access to comprehensive and robust support options to help them address the speedbumps that come with building a seamless connected-home experience.

The best support experience for consumers will include:
-- Broad device and issue knowledge - any device, any issue.
-- Industry expertise in providing support for complex technical issues.
-- Flexibility that enables consumers to not only access, but also seamlessly transition between support channels (i.e. online guides, phone, chat, or in-home).
-- Experienced technicians and tools that provide contextual support based on the consumer’s ecosystem.Availability 24/7, 365 days a year.

Q: What strategies are needed to achieve a unified experience in the home for consumers between smart home and connected entertainment products and services?

A: As with other smart home categories, the connected entertainment product category is expanding rapidly as new devices are coming to market almost daily. In light of this rapid change, the ability to provide the breadth of comprehensive support that’s required can be both challenging and costly, certainly on top of existing core business activities including focusing on intuitive design and ensuring device interoperability. OEMs and other providers who are able to focus on their core competencies and partner with experts to provide support across brands and devices will be the most strongly positioned to deliver on the seamless smart home experience that consumers expect. Critical to their success, providers should also have a cloud-based knowledge platform that can scale rapidly, while enabling comprehensive, contextualized support for consumers on all issues from setup and installation to configuration, troubleshooting, and device usage.

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