Who will consumers trust to secure their connected homes?

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Who will consumers trust to secure their connected homes?

The connected home is coming. In fact, it’s here. At this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, countless firms highlighted their connected home products: security cameras, smart thermostats, internet-connected lighting and smart appliances. Lots of firms are rushing to the connected home market, each with varying degrees of technical expertise and experience. Key players who want to oversee the management of connected homes were also on hand, including tech companies like Apple and Google, communications stalwarts like AT&T and Comcast, and traditional security firms like ADT and CenturyLink. Each offers a variety of features and plans, reminiscent of cellphone plans from the late 1990s. Many of these are considered well-known and trusted brands. But can they be trusted to manage your connected home?

While there is great excitement about the trend toward connected homes, concerns are also beginning to emerge. Every year, Splash Data puts out a list of commonly stolen passwords, noting that many of these passwords are ALWAYS on this list. In other words, hackers know this and are just salivating, waiting for you to use one to “secure” your connected home.

Don’t believe me? We recently saw a story about a site (not including the link, for obvious reasons) offering access to over 73,000 unsecured cameras that are easily accessible because their owners never changed their default user names and passwords. Creepy, isn’t it? And while the use of stronger passwords could eliminate some of these concerns, there are other ways a more determined hacker can get into your system. A Consumerist report recently exposed many vulnerabilities within connected home products.

These issues underline the key potential weakness of connected homes: security. Who can you trust to actually secure your connected home, manage/use your data responsibly and not sell it to unwanted third parties? There’s one type of provider I haven’t mentioned that is actually among the leaders in the trust department: utilities.

A recent international study from Accenture shows that customer trust in utilities with regard to energy advice remains higher and is growing faster compared to telecommunication companies and home security firms. This provides an edge to utilities with respect to newer market entrants, like Google/Nest, who are actively seeking to gain market share through energy management. (And we all know Google doesn’t make its money keeping your information secret.)

Even more importantly, the same study found that customers prefer utilities/energy firms to provide connected home services far more often than phone/cable providers or home security companies. Only firms that specialize in connected home products and services were preferred more often than a utility/energy provider. Utilities have a great opportunity to stake a claim in the connected home marketplace, especially if they strategically position their offers on trust.

Skills

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Posted on

March 24, 2015

About the Author

Jim Lyza

Jim Lyza

Jim is a former contributor to Shelton Insights.

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Suzanne Shelton

President and CEO

Suzanne is the voice and the vision of Shelton Group. Drawing on her extensive experience in energy and the environment – and 25+ years in the marketing and advertising industry – Suzanne provides high-level strategic insights for our clients and guidance for our research and creative departments. She regularly speaks at conferences around the country, including Sustainable Brands, Fortune Brainstorm E and the International Builders’ Show, and serves as a guest columnist for publications like Fast Company, Green Builder and GreenBiz.com.

Susannah Enkema

VP Research & Insights

Susannah directs our research team and plays a key role in extracting the nuggets of information that pave the way for recommended marketing strategies and creative approaches. Susannah has nearly two decades of market research and strategy experience, including her role as president of SE Consulting, where she led the services for the likes of DIY Network and the makers of GORE-TEX®.

Laila Waggoner

VP Client Engagement

Laila leads our client engagement process, overseeing activities from both a strategic and a tactical level to ensure our work generates desired results – and clients’ satisfaction. She brings 25+ years of marketing leadership experience to her client relationships, with particular expertise in the homebuilding and remodeling industries as well as member-driven organizations, such as the Vinyl Siding Institute and Plastics Pipe Institute. Before joining Shelton Group, she led strategic marketing teams for Owens Corning’s insulation business.

Matt Brass

VP Creative

Matt steers the creative department in concepting, designing and producing campaigns. He ensures sound strategy and deep insights inform everything his team develops, and works closely with the accounts department to ensure copy and designs will meet our clients’ goals. As a designer and filmmaker himself, he’s also a principal contributor to all of Shelton’s in-house photography and videography work.

Glen L. Vesser III

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Glen manages Shelton Group’s finances and administration, ensuring our internal systems run smoothly so we can provide exceptional client service in a seamless and timely manner. Glen’s financial and administrative expertise has been shaped by decades of experience in a variety of industries, including public accounting, media distribution and health care.

Mike Beamer

VP Business Development

Mike joined our team to help provide strategic vision and foster our agency’s growth by overseeing new business leads and managing agency marketing and website content. He arrived in Knoxville steeped in energy efficiency and renewables – he previously led client service for an agency division in Boston dedicated to marketing communications strategy and branding for B2B and B2C clients in that space.