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Internet of Things is Leading to the Internet of Frustration

30 January 2018

The Internet of Things has become a ubiquitous term for anything that connects a device to the Internet whether that be in industry, enterprise, an automobile or in the home.

The Internet of Things in the home is more commonly referred to as the smart home – taking devices that do a certain function and making them perform that function either more efficiently or with more or easier control. Most of these devices can also be connected to one another either through a central hub, such as an Amazon Echo or a Google Home, or through a centralized app (because who wants 10 apps on your smartphone each only operating one device).

Now, a survey has been released by iQor, a global service provider, which says that more than one in three U.S. adults have experienced issues either setting up or operating a connected device. According to the survey, some adults report having to take more than eight steps to resolve a technical problem or issue with a smart device. This means spending about on average close to 1.5 hours of their time resolving issues and one hour working with customer service. About 22 percent couldn’t resolve the issue and gave up or returned the product for a refund.

iQor says this is leading to frustration among early adopter consumers with some losing faith as they struggle with setup and installation issues and disjointed technical support involving multiple people at multiple companies.

The problem may become exacerbated as well as Gartner reports that Internet of Things-enabled devices are forecast to grow to 20.4 billion globally by 2020, up from an estimated 11.1 billion this year. As more devices become connected in more homes, the more problems more people will be having as adoption of these devices become mainstream. iQor says the frustration from consumers is likely to cascade unless companies can work to improve their support and resolution process to create more streamlined and integrated adoption and set-up processes. If not, these companies risk long term consumer brand building and retention.

The survey dealt with consumers that talked with an average of 2.1 companies, over 2.7 sessions and with 3.1 different people as they attempted to install and engage with new connected technology in the home. For 17 percent of those surveyed, they dealt with five or more people while trying to resolve an issue.

More than half of consumers surveyed, 59 percent, read the instructions/manual provided as the first step to solve an issue and 14 percent asked a friend or family member. On average, consumers took more than eight steps to resolve an issue with the highest solution and effectiveness tool being YouTube, as 47 percent used the video platform as an interim step in the resolution process.

To contact the author of this article, email Peter.Brown@ieeeglobalspec.com


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