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Usability is vital for smart devices' continued popularity: Accenture

Nurdianah Md Nur | Jan. 7, 2015
Smart device manufacturers also need to address consumers' distrust of the Internet for the Internet of Things market to flourish.

The increasing popularity and adoption of smart devices might be threatened by their complexities.

According to Accenture's Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World study, 33 percent of the respondents cited ease of use of smart devices as the most important criterion when deciding which gadgets to buy. However, 83 percent of the respondents experienced various problems when using smart devices. The devices include wearable fitness monitors and products, smartwatches, smart home thermometers, in-vehicle entertainment systems, as well as home connected surveillance cameras and security systems.

The biggest challenges consumers face are that the smart devices are too complicated to use (21 percent), set-up does not proceed properly (19 percent), and does not work as advertised (19 percent).

To counter these problems and avoid losing customers, smart device manufacturers "need to rethink their product development approaches to focus on the entire customer experience," advised Sami Luukkonen, managing director for Accenture's Electronics and High Tech group. "They should make fundamental strategic changes that no longer focus on product feature differentiation but rather holistic, digital experience differentiation."

Sceptical about the Internet's security
As smart devices need to be connected to each other for them to work better, they will be heavily reliant on the Internet to help them do so. This is a major concern for most consumers as they generally distrust the Internet. More than half of the respondents (54 percent) said that they were not always confident that their personal data on the Internet -- such as email addresses, mobile phone numbers and purchasing history -- were safe.   

Smart device manufacturers thus need to ensure that their products address this concern to gain consumers' trust and the market share in the Internet of Things industry.

Buying intent 
Despite lamenting on the complexities and security of today's smart gadgets, respondents are still intending to purchase such devices over the next five years. Devices that received strong purchase interest include smartwatches (41 percent), home connected surveillance cameras and security systems (41 percent), wearable fitness monitors (40 percent), smart thermostats (39 percent), and connected car entertainment systems (37 percent).

The Engaging the Digital Consumer in the New Connected World study is based on the opinions of 24,000 consumers from 24 countries globally. Conducted online from October to November 2014, the survey sought to uncover consumers' usage, attitudes and expectations related to the Internet of Things.


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