How Google Home and Amazon Echo will convince people smart homes aren't useless

IoT industry figures believe that people are not yet ready for a connected life

Google and Amazon's entrance into the Internet of Things (IoT) industry will help sell the concept of a 'smart home', according to major tech players.

The launch of smart home assistants like Google Home and Amazon Echo proves that the technology is rapidly approaching maturity, but the public has been noticeably slow to jump on board the connected bandwagon.

However, Bosch, a company that has been very active in IoT, believes that these kind of products with wide consumer appeal will also benefit other manufacturers of smart home technology.

Speaking to IT Pro at Paris's Connected Conference event today,Thomas Finke, director of sales for Bosch's smart home division, said:"Every marketing dollar currently spent by one of the big players is actually 50 cents in the pockets of everyone else," Finke said, "because we created this market first."

But he added: "Itwill be at least 12 to 18 months before the industry really takes off. Already we see the first seeds of it,but it's not yet a mass market."

One of the challenges to wider smart home adoption is convincing people they are not "useless", according to Craft AI engineer Lionel Ferrand.

"We're getting closer to people acknowledging that a smart home is useful," he said, but noted that public perception of smart home technology was still a barrier.

Smart home assistants like Google Home can be an excellent way to combat this, however, acting as a sort of 'gateway drug' for connected living. This is because they are "more plug-and-play, more simple to use" than other IoT products, said Ferrand.

This is because these products use conversational voice commands rather than complicated interfaces, making them a lot less intimidating for non-technical people, added Matthieu Boussard, also a Craft AI engineer.

While Ferrand warned that simply buying one of these device won't automatically make your home truly connected, "they help give a first preview of what a smart home can be".

"It could save us time, and time is an enormous resource for humanity, and if we can save time doing maintenance, using a house, we could have more time to do personal things that will make us better people."

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