But with each purchase comes the need to install this stuff. The first few million consumers that have been willing to tackle installation themselves have done fairly well because, after all, early adopters are often more technical than the mainstream consumer and mostly have no problem with turning screws or connecting electrical wiring.
But for many, the idea of twisting a piece of electrical wiring is terrifying. And it’s the growing recognition of this hurdle to mainstream adoption within the embryonic smart home industry that has some exploring ways to help less tech-savvy consumers get their smart home up and running.
While many believe the answer to the install problem may lie partly in simplified software from the likes of Apple with HomeKit, others see installation services as one way to usher regular folk into the smart home era. First there were signs that Lowe’s and Best Buy were heading in the direction of offering local home services, and just last week, online giant Amazon announced an ambitious new effort to create a marketplace for local home service professionals.
Alongside the home services announcement, Amazon also announced the Amazon Dash button, which shows the company is thinking more broadly about the Internet of Things. That said, it’s the services announcement that was most intriguing to me because of what it means for the smart home industry’s install problem. I can already envision install services for a thermostat being suggestively bundled to Amazon shoppers at checkout when purchasing the likes of a Nest or Ecobee.
While the tech-savvy among us are probably snickering at the idea of calling in a handyman, those of us who help friends install this stuff or occasionally find ourselves a little technically challenged can see the value in offering installation services from a locally vetted pro. And because the big-fat-middle of the market is much bigger than the lean part of the bell curve occupied by the early adopter set, I predict over the next few years we’ll see a flourishing new services opportunity for local technicians and installers to help mainstream consumers make their homes smarter.