You are creating the perfect connected home. Your army of smart devices—your TV, speakers, oven, refrigerator, washing machine, clothes dryer, surveillance system, central air conditioner, outdoor sprinklers, door locks, light switches and music system—are all manufactured by the same company. Perfectly blended in the vendor’s production center like a philharmonic orchestra, and integrated before shipping with the precision of a surgical knife, these life-changing devices are ready to work in perfect unison like a Russian ballet. Just plug and play. Everything operates flawlessly right out of the box. It’s like connected heaven. But, just in case, you are covered by a single manufacturer warranty that safeguards the entire array of devices.
You are ready for years of smart device-controlled bliss.
It’s a Diverse World
That’s not the real world, is it? While these hyper-modern, super-advanced wizards are ready to work wonders on your behalf, orchestrating this digital lifestyle treasure trove is going to be anything but simple.
What are the chances that the manufacturer of the TV that entertains you with cool shows also cools the house with the connected thermostat? Will the stereo system that fires you up with concerts work in concert with your iron? Can the surveillance system watch your windows and converse with your watch? Does your smart stove light up your palate and turn on your lights?
Not likely. At least not without a lot of work. Your connected home is a lot more complicated than that.
In reality, you are going to buy your smart TV from a certain manufacturer, your connected oven from another and your internet-controlled sprinklers from still another. Although all are interconnection-ready, smart devices produced by different companies have a difficult time communicating correctly with one another.
Devices “speak” with different dialects (“protocols”) and have an awfully hard time working together smoothly and efficiently. Your connected home, with its myriad devices from many lands has become a veritable United Nations (and we know how well that organization works!). Chaos rules the day.
Some of us tend toward the nerdy side of life and enjoy the puzzle of putting complicated Internet of Things together. We like the challenge of figuring out how to turn off the house alarm from our mobile phone. We get a thrill from unraveling the nest of protocols that will enable us to get the coffee ready from the bedroom. We enjoy the rush from figuring out how to heat the car on a cold winter morning precisely at 7:30 in the morning, but not on Saturdays or Sundays.
But that’s not how millions of other people behave. Just as they can plug any electrical device into a wall socket and it just works, they want to purchase their new smart device of choice, bring it home, hit the start button and—Bingo!—it just works.
But that’s not the state of the connected home. Getting to the nirvana of smooth operation of interconnected devices is actually quite complicated.
Who is Responsible?
If you buy your smart devices and hook them together yourself, you are also taking on the on the role of integrator and it isn’t going to be easy. Most people need help and they turn to an integrator to help them set up and maintain their smart lifestyle. It’s the integrator (often an ISP who already has experience supporting devices in the home) who is going to be responsible for making the orchestra of different devices work in harmony.
Integrators can coordinate disparate devices and turn them into a world-class surveillance system that would make the White House jealous. Beyond installation, integrators can provide 24/7/365 monitoring of your smart home and deliver support services to help you when you encounter problems.
Service and Support Challenges
According to Parks Associates, 12 percent of smart-home device owners in the United States have suffered sudden unusability of a device due to a technical issue. Many of those problems went unaddressed for a significant period of time.
When something goes wrong in the connected home, customers turn to their ISP’s service department to put their smart home back in sync. From the ISP’s point of view, the trigger for service is often a sudden call from a frustrated customer to the service center. However, even with the best-trained support team, getting to the root cause of a complicated problem takes time and often contributes to customer frustration. Trying to pinpoint a problem concerning a device that is supposed to work in concert with several others (e.g., internet router + smart TV + smart speakers—”I’m not getting any sound!”) is not a trivial matter. Which device is responsible? Maybe it’s the communication protocol. Who knows?
The service team lacks visibility into the smart home. They are unable to watch the devices as they perform and lack the tools to detect situations when they don’t. A service rep is remote and relies on the angry customer to coordinate trials for isolating problems. This is not a recipe for customer satisfaction.
Proactive, Not Reactive
The smart home is a complicated environment to manage and support. A lot of new tools are needed. To be effective, service teams must have ongoing visibility into the entire connected environment of each home that they support. They need a way to rapidly re-construct problems to be able to pinpoint root causes and determine proper—and cost-effective—repair solutions.
While extremely helpful, these tools deal with problems after they occur. They are reactive and only get into the game after the customer has reported a problem.
If ISPs are ever going to really create that nirvana of the smoothly operating smart home, they are going to have to arm themselves with a much more effective arsenal of proactive support capabilities that:
- Monitor the connected-home environment continuously, including the state of device and system performance as well as communications.
- Detect conditions that contribute to problems before they occur.
- Determine causes of problems as they occur.
- Autonomously repair problems even before their effects are noticed.
- When autonomous repair is not possible, automatically suggest effective remediation steps to users and support personnel for prompt remediation.
- When service-team intervention is required, deliver a complete and prompt analysis of the conditions that led to the problem, enabling complete understanding and quick resolution.
Veego is delivering that arsenal of proactive, smart, support capabilities. We are reducing expenses and complexities for device manufacturers, integrators, ISPs and service teams. We are boosting customer satisfaction with the smart home.