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3 new customer expected essentials for smart home living

December 23, 2021

Smart home devices aren’t just getting more popular. They’re also creating new customer expectations and transforming the way people work, relax, and learn in their homes.

“Thanks, in part, to COVID-19, things have changed dramatically,” Plume CCO Tyson Marian said in a recent webinar. “[Customer] expectations have increased because their entire livelihood really rests on the quality of experience in the home. And we don’t see that changing anytime soon.” Communications service providers (CSPs) must keep up with these changes or risk getting left behind. And that means using data to understand exactly what customers want from their smart home experiences and how you can deliver it.

“The smart home today is less about the devices in your home and more about the data that those devices produce to create cross-device experiences. That’s why the smart home is really starting to take off now and why we believe it will continue to grow.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO

Uninterrupted connection throughout the home

There are more connected devices in the home than ever—and the pandemic just sped up adoption. As more people had to quarantine and begin working and schooling from their residences, what did they invest in? Smart home devices.

In a recent study, Plume found that the number of devices per U.S. household increased 38% from October 2019 to May 2021—the most common additions being voice assistants, security cameras, and smart light bulbs.

38% The number of devices per U.S. household increased 38% from October 2019 to May 2021

With all of their smart devices, customers expect seamless, uninterrupted connection so they never have to miss a meeting, class, or a favorite TV show. And if they’re now paying for more hardware and software than they used to, they want to know that they’re getting their money’s worth.

“Our digital life is becoming the greatest cost in our life outside of possibly a mortgage. What the customer expects is that those [devices and platforms] work and that they always work.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO

Smart capabilities across devices
In a world of smart technology, a watch is no longer just a watch and a bike is no longer just a bike. Instead, they’re internet-connected devices that use data to learn about your needs and deliver automated, personalized experiences. And consumers have increasingly come to expect those features.

“If I get a new thermostat, it’s got to give me more than just the ability to adjust the controls. With sensorless motion detection, for instance, Plume can actually turn devices like a smart thermostat into a sensor. This is the sort of thing that turns an otherwise simple thermostat into something more useful, and turns a home into a smart home.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO

During the pandemic, investments in smart cooking devices grew 60%, wearables and smartwatches 51%, and smart TVs and streaming devices 34%.

Personalized, on-call support when they need it
With all of these connected devices, CSPs should be able to gather real-time data about their customers’ experiences and offer personalized, proactive support as needed.

“When they actually call the service provider with an issue, the customer wants you to know who they are. They also want you to be able to help solve their problem efficiently.”
Tyson Marian, Plume CCO

Marian recalled a support call he once heard where a customer was passed from representative to representative until someone was able to finally address the problem. And for each new person, the customer had to repeat their name, account number, and issue. A CSP with a cloud-based, data-driven system would have been able to get a bird’s-eye view of the devices in the customer’s home, easily connect those that weren’t on the network, and offer a customized solution for increased coverage—all in just a few minutes. “That’s the kind of experience that the customer wants: bespoke,” Marian said. “What’s going on in my house and can you offer me a solution?” As smart home devices become more ubiquitous and customers less tolerant of unpersonalized experiences, CSPs have to step up their game and find a way to become a one-stop shop for customers’ evolving needs and preferences.

“A lot has changed; a lot is going to continue to change. And our belief is that every change will present more data, which means more opportunities to create new digital, smart home experiences.”
Tyson Marian Plume CCO