In the last few years home security and home automation hardware products have grown in popularity thanks to new technologies, and more time spent at home during the pandemic with ‘security on the mind’.
Products that allow homes to be monitored remotely or to manage multiple sites is fast evolving, including smart alarm devices, smart locks, cameras with video analytics, cameras with better night vision, and security apps with integration capabilities that also control lighting, electronics etc. The appeal of these products often goes beyond home security to convenience. Consumers are interested in tech that enables them to let friends, family and tradespeople into their home remotely, keep an eye on pets, and instruct couriers where to leave parcels when they ring the doorbell.
Smart-home devices, however, can be problematic. Devices often require complicated setups; they do not play well together with other devices; they can activate at the wrong times; they can be hard to control; and they drain batteries too fast. The biggest problem reported by consumers is the difficulty in setting up the devices. Consumers can struggle with connecting to home Wi-Fi networks; connecting companion smartphone apps; remembering Wi-Fi passwords; integrations with smart speakers; connecting virtual accounts (e.g Google); downloading files and updates; and integration to other third-party apps.
Most smart home devices require Wi-Fi, and many also depend on a Bluetooth signal for the installation, and Bluetooth has a short range. That means your phone needs to be within a few feet of the device to initially connect to it. Sometimes the signals also require ‘piggybacking’ of other devices and smartphones.
Most Wi-Fi routers transmit using two wireless frequencies (2.4GHz and 5GHz) and the majority of smart home devices can only use the 2.4GHz one, so if your phone is connected to your network on the 5GHz band, it won’t be able to see or communicate with your smart home device.
Wi-Fi signal strength can also be blamed on problems with setting up smart home devices. Consumers may have to also buy mesh routers, hubs, extenders, bridges and repeaters to get their device to work. And after all of this, it doesn’t guarantee a reliable connection. Network connectivity is one of the most common ongoing issues that smart device owners will encounter. From smart cameras dropping the feed, to your living room smart lights failing to turn off, to being locked out of your home, connectivity issues can not only be annoying, but they can also be seriously disruptive.
With all the aforementioned problems with today’s smart home devices, particularly in setting them up, it’s no wonder device adoption has been low, especially amongst Baby Boomers. For example, a national Australian survey to 1000 households in February 2022, conducted by comparison website Finder, found that only only 8 per cent of Baby Boomers had adopted smart home devices, with the majority of these being only CCTV devices.
For 5G IoT devices, all consumers need to do is take the device out of the box, turn it on, and it should register to the local 5G IoT network automatically. Then all they have to do is download the companion mobile app (and/or log in to cloud based management software) and they can start controlling their devices – that’s it! For every subsequent purchase of a 5G IoT device, it can automatically be added to this same app when it first connects to the local network.