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Smart Home

Will Consumer Privacy Concerns Inhibit Growth of the Smart Home?

One of the highlights of Day 1 of the CONNECTIONS™ conference for me was when Lee Gruenfeld, VP of Strategic Initiatives for, in responding to a question about the impact of security and privacy concerns on the growth of the smart home, said that consumers in general are uncritical about security lapses. For example, Target’s stock price is now higher than it was before the company’s highly publicized security breach. He made a great point, and I think it’s 100% accurate.

Parks Associates’ data points have shown that there are significant consumer concerns about security and privacy issues as they relate to smart home devices. While these concerns are legitimate, I don’t think that they’ve inhibited the growth of the smart home. If the smart home market fails to grow substantially from the point that it is at now, it won’t be because of privacy or security concerns. It will be because the smart home concept and/or individual smart home devices have not proven their worth in terms of enhancing quality of life for consumers.

Gruenfeld spoke to the heart of the matter of consumer demand for smart home products when he said that “if they really want a product, they’ll find an excuse to get around the security issue.” That puts the onus on brands in the smart home space to define a value proposition that sparks consumer demand by demonstrating that these products improve quality of life in a meaningful way. While I think that security and privacy issues will be on the minds of consumers when evaluating smart home products, if the perceived value of these products exceeds the perceived privacy or security issues, then consumers will brush aside these concerns and focus on how the product benefits them in their lives. 

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