Consumer expectations around smart home interoperability are shifting

For the past six quarters, Interpret has measured the expectations of smart home device owners regarding device interoperability. Our quarterly consumer surveys have asked device owners if they expect their most recently purchased device to connect to and talk with other products in their homes. Until the end of last year, the majority of consumers have stated that they did not believe or did not know if their most recently purchased device would work with devices already owned – a strong reminder of problems plaguing the smart home industry. Confusion and uncertainty around smart home industry standards has long been a barrier to adoption.

Interpret’s most recent data, however, has identified a shift in this sentiment, with nearly 60% of consumers saying they do expect their most recent device to communicate with other devices.

While Google, Amazon, or other tech giants would love for consumers to stay within their respective device ecosystems, there are plenty of people who may wish to use smart home products from competing vendors. This presents a significant hurdle to interoperability as Amazon’s Alexa can’t talk to Google Assistant or vice versa, but growing support for the Matter standard may soon solve this problem.

“This is a very encouraging trend,” said Stuart Sikes, SVP of Interpret. “It is likely that a combination of factors is improving consumer awareness of device interoperability. The efforts of industry players to support the Matter standard for interoperability seem to be getting more awareness than prior standards announcements – even if the standard is not yet fully available.

“The sheer number of companies supporting the standard, up to 220 at this time, is sending a message to buyers that the industry is ready to put some significant barriers behind it. Combined with the success of voice assistants at making products work together, consumer confidence in smart home products is on the rise.”

Interpret’s Smart Home Matrix: Consumer provides a segmentation and deeper look at the habits and profiles of smart home product buyers and intenders.