Smart device buyers don’t keep their devices connected to the Internet

Briefly: Smart devices like Alexa-enabled microwaves and ovens that can live stream their contents have been making their way into kitchens for years, but not everyone is taking full advantage of their connected features.

An LG Electronics spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal that less than half of the smart devices you sold will stay online for the long haul. A Whirlpool representative said more than half of their connected devices are online but declined to be more specific.

Smart devices with fancy bells and whistles can help attract buyers at the time of purchase, but they go further than that. Internet-connected devices can (and usually do) relay data and other insights about usage directly to the manufacturer, helping them to better understand how owners use their products.

This direct relationship can also help sell parts or subscription services. For example, owners of a Whirlpool smart oven can sync it with the company’s Yummly Pro recipe Subscription service to improve integration.

Building long-term relationships with owners is more important now than ever due to slowing sales, an uncertain economy, and rising material and energy costs.

A variety of reasons can potentially contribute to buyers not taking full advantage of connected devices.

Some devices may be connected to Wi-Fi during the initial setup but changing the password or router on the road may disconnect. Others may be installed in an area with poor or no Wi-Fi coverage. Some buyers may simply not have any use for the features that a connected device can provide.

Privacy advocates have their own reasons for not connecting devices to the Internet, and purists probably don’t have to worry about the possibility of an over-the-air update failure in the washing machine or refrigerator.

Although rarely used, connected features on devices are likely here to stay. Smart home features are now found in 80 percent to 90 percent of all devices they sell, with the exception of entry-level budget models, said Henry Kim, US director of ThinQ at LG.

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