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Smart homes are supposed to automate tasks that frequently occur in our lives and ultimately lead to a more efficient–if not optimal–lifestyle for their owners. In the future, you are going to own at least one smart appliance…that’s assuming that you don’t already own one. Smart homes and smart appliances will more than likely be the norm as we move into the future, but at this point in time, smart appliances have a few issues that prevent them from snowballing.
Consumers are looking for smart appliances that feel like they are a custom fit for their lives. The better an appliance is at solving a problem that a consumer has or automating a task that occurs frequently, the more eager and probable that consumer is to buy that device. Imagine if your refrigerator was capable of monitoring the amount of milk you had in the fridge and was able to order (and pay for) a new carton of milk that arrives directly at your doorstep. If appliances like dishwashers, coffee makers, and lights could monitor, order, and pay for new supplies whenever they find that the current supply was running low or out, smart devices could remove an errand from a homeowners schedule and free up more time for them to do other things. Consumers are typically attracted to devices that optimize their lives and their schedules due to the device’s efficiency–for example, the smartphone.
Another aspect consumers look for in smart appliances is increased home security; for this reason, smart-locks are a highly sought after smart appliance. Simmons New Media Study (2016) found that out of the current smart homeowners, 26.6% own a smart alarm system and 24.3% own a smart lock system.
Safety is an essential feature for a homeowner; nobody wants to feel that their safety is threatened or at risk within their home. A smart lock gives individuals the ability to lock and unlock their door via a digital device as opposed to the classic lock and key. A smart alarm is a sensor system integrated into the home that allows a homeowner to monitor the security of their home via a digital device and can often contact the homeowner and the police if an intruder is detected.
But even though personalization, efficiency, and security are highly sought after features in a smart appliance, most smart appliances on the market lack most–if not all–of these features; this could be the reason that a majority of the world has not integrated smart appliances into their homes yet. According to Statista, out of the 126.22 million households in America, only 17.86 million own a smart home appliance–in other words, only 14% of households in America own a smart appliance.
Number of Active Smart Homes and Stand-alone Smart Appliances Source: Statista
At the heart of this issue and what is largely affecting smart appliances from becoming widespread, is the fact that a majority of smart appliances on the market have problems with interoperability and system security, and issues of that nature lead to issues with efficiency and optimization for the homeowner.
Obstacles in a nascent market
Having a smart home or a smart appliance is supposed to make the lives of homeowners easier, but for reasons related to interoperability, efficiency, and security, smart appliances typically do the opposite. To fully automate your home, you will need several different smart devices that are most likely going to be made by different brands. Usually, each brand requires a homeowner to use a phone app or a remote that is unique to their device–the more devices you have, the more apps and remotes you will be juggling to operate your smart appliances. More apps and remotes mean more friction and the more friction that exists in a process, the less efficient that process is.
Another reason that smart appliances are not abundant in society is due to data security. Because smart appliances tend to communicate over wireless systems like wifi, Zigbee, Zwave, Insteon, Itron, RadioRA2, and more, smart appliances become susceptible to attacks by hackers and the unauthorized interception of personal information.
What’s missing from the smart appliance industry is a platform that acts as the command center for every smart appliance in your home, a system so secure that homeowners do not feel that like their safety is at risk when they decide to integrate a smart appliance into their home. One company–Arloid Automation–has found a way to make a platform like this a reality while considering features like consumer personalization at the same time.
A solution for interoperability, consumer personalization, and security
At the intersection of blockchain technology and the smart appliance industry, Arloid found the solution to several of the problems within the smart home industry. In their IoT ecosystem, users have a voice when it comes to smart appliances. Arloid users will have the ability to vote on the projects developers are creating for the IoT ecosystem; if a project receives enough votes, it can then receive crowdfunding from the community. Giving the consumers a voice regarding what appliances they would like to see become available is a surefire way to make sure each smart appliance is meeting a consumer-standard and makes it more likely that the smart appliance will be purchased.
Arloid also tackles the interoperability issue that plagues many smart-home users. In the IoT ecosystem, you will have the ability to control all of your smart appliances via one platform; this means that smart-home owners will no longer need to juggle different phone apps and remotes to command their devices. And since Arloid runs their ecosystem on a blockchain network, homeowners can feel safe knowing that any irregular activity their IoT devices create will be detected.
Personalization, efficiency, and home security are the features consumers are looking for in a smart appliance. Although smart appliances are the way of the future and are just beginning to pick up steam with innovations like the Amazon echo and Google home, only a small fraction of the world owns a smart appliance. Arloid is looking to change that through their ecosystem by incorporating the personalized, interoperable, life optimizing features that consumers are looking for in their appliances. In a few years, nearly every home is going to have at least one smart appliance integrated into the home’s wiring. But at the moment, the industry is still new– under 20 years old–and like any nascent industry, only a small number of participants–the early adopters–are involved.
So far, the early adopters have come across the problems like lack of interoperability and security that are going to need to be solved before the early majority wants in on the smart appliance market. Fortunately, the world is slowly but surely overcoming the problems that will take us to the next stage of the smart appliance industry, and Arloid is looking to be one of the smart home companies at the forefront of this movement, solving problems in the industry to optimize the lifestyle of a homeowner.