Home decor over home automation

Question: Are consumers buying NEST because they want to automate their home climate control or because it is a very nice home accessory that is more affordable than an Eames chair?   

Over the last year, I have spent a significant amount of time thinking about how IoT will move from the early adopter stage to mainstream consumption.  While widespread market adoption may take 2-5 years, there are early trends in consumer adoption.

Let's look at home automation and Nest, for example.  Does it make sense for mainstream consumers to pay $250 for a thermostat when they can get a basic version of that device for $30?  Probably not.  But what if you looked at it from a different perspective - what if a consumer's purchase of NEST products was not based on a desire for heating/cooling devices, but rather an attraction to high end or contemporary home decor accessories similar to an antique oriental rug, crystal wine glasses or a leather lounge chair?  What if the next addition to their home was either a NEST ($250) or an Eames Lounge and Ottoman ($5,789)?  Now spending $250 for a home decor upgrade sounds like a pretty good deal. 

This shift in the mental model of how consumers think about IoT products is linked to creating desirable brands that align with consumer passions.

What is the coolest brand that provides the best products for the things I love to do the most?

Like home decor, there are other consumer passion points where IoT products can transcend beyond gadget status to become a part of a consumer's lifestyle, including:

  • Cooking
  • Parenting 
  • Fitness 
  • Home decor
  • Art
  • Music

 It seems like IoT will be less about tech/specs and more about brands, design and lifestyles. 

Just a thought.