Good news for dealers: Consumers still disappointed with DIY cameras

Satisfaction with other smart home devices slowly rising, Argus Insights says
Wednesday, September 30, 2015

LOS GATOS, Calif.—Consumers’ disappointment with DIY home security cameras could become a “renaissance” for traditional dealers, according to John Feland, CEO of Argus Insights. Customers need some help, he said, and dealers are positioned to do just that.

While consumers are slowly becoming more satisfied with smart home devices, they still are disappointed in their DIY security cameras, according to a September report from Argus Insights, Feland told Security Systems News.

Following its most recent report in June, “Connected Home or Ho-Hum,” Argus looked at 45,000 consumer reviews from March through August. Home automation customers are becoming, slowly but surely, increasingly satisfied with smart light bulbs and security kits, according to its latest report, “What Makes a Smart Home a Happy Home?” But the reliability and connectivity concerns of DIY cameras, Feland said, are still a turn-off.

“They’ve got their system installed, finally, and then the mobile notifications they were promised, such as motion detection, are not working as planned. They’re spending so much bandwidth to send that data up to the cloud, and now they can’t watch Netflix,” he said.

Installation is easy, he said. It’s “people’s gateway drug—their five minutes of success,” but when problems arise they have to become “a wireless engineer, an optical person, you have to set up a new router … all these things have to work.”

That consumer frustration provides an opportunity for professionals, he said.

While the DIY trend “is here to stay,” it offers up a different business model, “one that drives a services subscription model. ‘I will come and fix it for you.’ There is the ability for the installer to become a trusted installer, to help maintain the system and update firmware.”

Compare it to a trusted car mechanic he said. Smart home systems are like a car—you just don’t know about it, he said. “Imagine Jiffy Lube for the smart home.”

Consumers are most happy with the SimpliSafe Security System while Canary “has fallen from grace” because of connectivity issues, the report noted. Meanwhile, Nest Cam “is recovering from a rocky start,” the report said.

“As the crucial holiday season approaches, our analysis suggests that there will be fewer happy holiday shoppers purchasing products in this space,” Argus said in a prepared statement.  “Though satisfaction is increasing, this is largely driven by more tech savvy sectors of the user population. According to overall consumer feedback, there is immense room for improvement. Distrust from consumers about the reliability of connected devices is obstructing growth in consumer adoption.”

Argus, a Silicon Valley-based consumer monitoring company that Feland founded in 2011, analyzes consumer reviews worldwide to measure how products satisfy market demand.