Understanding the Smart Home User Control Experience

by Elizabeth Parks | Aug. 26, 2022

The smart home will achieve significant penetration and widespread adoption among consumers, but the rate and speed of adoption are dependent upon companies telling a story to consumers in a method that resonates and provides beneficial value. As connectivity in the home increases year-over-year, smart home players have a chance to capitalize on and push the smart home forward. No single company holds the future in its grasp.

Despite the promising future and the smart home’s remarkable potential, there has so far been a disconnect between market hype and actual consumer behavior. Many consumers familiar with smart home products are uncertain about pricing, providers, capabilities, and benefits, indicating the need for more aggressive marketing and consumer education.

Common barriers to smart home adoption have included interoperability, solutions lacking clear value propositions, high upfront costs, battery life limitations, difficult installation, and security/privacy concerns. Many of these issues will be resolved with emerging technologies that address these barriers, opening the gate to broader adoption in the near term.


Unfortunately for smart home app developers, the perfect unified app experience is in the eye of the beholder. There’s no industry that features uniform consumers but only the most challenging ones include consumers who are opposites. Our research shows that different types of smart home consumers have different needs and wants that may contradict each other.

What is clear is that nearly all home device owners are interested in a unified app. Respondents were instructed to imagine a single unified app that could control all of their smart home products. They were then asked from what type of company they would most like to receive such an app. More than 8-in-10 were interested in a unified app, but disagreed on the source. While smartphone OS provider has a small edge, the consumers are split evenly across options. With no clear choice among consumers, the opportunity exists for an excellent app to become the biggest and best.

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This research is an excerpt from All Apps Aren’t Equal: Smart Home User Experiences, which provides an in-depth examination of the user experience among smart home app users. It evaluates consumers’ interaction and control preferences when using different smart home devices. This consumer study quantifies:

  • consumer preferences and pain points
  • the value of unified versus endpoint solutions
  • relative importance of the app experience for purchasing and satisfaction
  • preferences for usage models of interaction, such as voice versus touchThanks for reading our research. We welcome all comments and feedback.

Thank you for your support of Parks Associates work. If you have products or solutions in this area, please reach out to me so I can connect you with our team. 

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