NewsPoll: SSN readers debate the utility of CES home automation gadgets

Should toasters text? Fourteen percent call it a good idea
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Wednesday, February 18, 2015

YARMOUTH, Maine—Home automation gadgets coming out of the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show are interesting, but discretion might be needed before some go too far, according to Security Systems News readers responding to our latest NewsPoll.

CES was a popular event—28 percent of SSN poll respondents attended the show in Las Vegas. Though 69 percent of respondents couldn’t make it, they stayed current on news reports. Three percent said that CES is not on their radar.

“This is definitely the next big emerging market, and we are going to see a lot of big players coming in and wrestling for their piece of the pie,” said Enayat Shaikh, president of Spytek Security Solutions. “Although, there was a lot of repetition … some of [the gadgets at CES] were really useful and had big potential.”

Sixty-one percent of respondents agree with Shaikh. Home home automation is a big emerging market, which they are a part of, they said. An additional 22 percent said they were considering entering the market.

“With the security panels’ ability to serve as the hub of this technology explosion, the professional security dealer could not be in a better position to ride this new wave, but only if they are ready and willing to adapt quickly,” said Bill Rose, COO for ASG Security.

Seventeen percent said that home automation doesn’t interest them.

“We are an alarm company, not a toy company, [this] has nothing to do with burglar alarms,” wrote one respondent.

But what is the prevailing opinion on the latest gadgets? Twenty percent of respondents said that these gadgets are a necessity for consumers. Yet, the majority—66 percent—were ambivalent, saying some gadgets are useful but others are ridiculous.

“Some items are useful—locks, thermostats, video cameras—in securing homes and preventing unlocked doors and thermostats left too high or low. Most of the other components are convenience items. At some point it's OK to get off the couch to turn off the lights or close the blinds,” one reader said.

Fourteen percent wish they could get texts from their toaster.

“Talk about bells and whistles. Much of the whimsical applications will appeal to a few people. … [Whereas] the meat and potatoes (access, lights, environmental, video) appeal to many,” said another reader.