Every year, during trade shows such as the CES in Las Vegas, or the IFA in Berlin, the brands exhibit their latest novelties. And generally, there are a lot of household appliances, state-of-the-art and connected. But if these products can interest technophiles, they still have to convince the general public. And those in use, in a large number of cases, are not even connected to the Wifi network by their owners.
This is what is revealed by an article published by the Wall Street Journal. This relays the data provided by two major manufacturers: LG and Whirlpool. At LG, less than half of smart devices sold stay connected. And the situation is similar at Whirlpool, which indicates that more than half of the devices remain connected. In other words, people buy the connected models, but do not use the new functionalities available thanks to Wifi.
A connected device generates more revenue
And this is problematic for manufacturers, because internet-connected appliances are supposed to allow them to have more data on consumers. When these devices are connected to Wi-Fi, brands can also sell more spare parts thanks to device health monitoring, or offer services, which generate recurring revenue. For example, Whirlpool has created a subscription for its connected ovens, to display recipes and guide the user. Finally, a connected device can receive updates and benefit from new functions.
“The challenge is that a consumer doesn’t see the true value that manufacturers see in terms of how this data can help them in the long run. So they don’t really care to spend time just connecting it”admits Henry Kim, the American director of ThinQ, LG’s platform, quoted by the WSJ.
In its article, the newspaper also quotes a Gartner analyst who explains that some devices are connected during the first installation. But these would then be disconnected, without really doing it on purpose, after a change of ISP, router, password, etc. However, our colleagues from Ars Technica also suggest that users may simply not trust brands to manage their personal data.
Solutions under study
Faced with this problem, which cuts income, LG will better promote the interest of connecting household appliances in stores. During delivery, its agents will also ensure that a device is properly connected during installation. And on the software side, LG wants to improve its products so that they reconnect automatically. The company would have even discussed the installation of modems on its household appliances, so that they no longer depend on WiFi. But this would have incurred additional costs because of mobile data. And at Whirlpool, we are looking to equip devices with more powerful antennas, to ensure that they will have access to Wifi regardless of their location.
I am a journalist with over 6 years of experience working in the news industry. I currently work as an author for Global Happenings, and my coverage focuses on Technology news. I have written for various publications, including Reuters, The New York Times and The Guardian.