The positive messages are not reaching the consumer. The position of the average potential buyer of an HA product is still one of apathy at best. In the last year or so the only HA related item I have seen in the major media, was a piece on a “Date Line” broadcast which ridiculed the “Butler-in-a-Box” system. The story was filled with angry home owners who all had a severe case of buyer’s remorse. The voice recognition system followed the instructions of household pets, but could not understand the commands of the home owner. The builder and the inventor were both interviewed, which just added insult to injury. When the builder was asked if he had the system installed in his own home he smiled, giggled and said no. The inventor, on the other hand, did have the system installed in his home, and his demonstration was impressive. However, the reporter made short work of that brief positive message when he inquired about the inventor’s background. Apparently the inventor was a professional magician. The reporter conveniently used this information in the most negative fashion. Naturally the big joke was that you have to be a magician to operate this type of technology successfully.

DIY Home Automation at SmartHomeUSA
Now, being a part of this industry for a few years and dealing with many average home owners, I feel it is safe to say that some or all of the problems encountered were the result of the home owner’s inability to understand and properly utilize the technology. However, due to the total lack of positive information in the major media, the only stories the potential customer sees are stories which portray HA as a technology which is not yet ready for prime time. When a major TV news magazine program runs a story like this it makes people feel that only a fool would use his or her hard earned money to purchase such a thing.

The entire industry must go on the offensive. The major media must be blanketed with the positive stories of which there are plenty. Good products, dealers, and manufacturers must be profiled, and happy customers must be displayed for all the world to see. We cannot quietly sit back and watch as various uninformed reporters continuously ridicule our products and services. A few more negative stories could kill the industry.

Where are the Marketeers? Where are the Salespeople? I see no billboards, TV ads, radio ads, or articles in major print media. Unfortunately we all have seen that the products do not sell themselves. Someone needs to step up and begin to promote their products in an effective way. The time for testing the water has long since past. We must jump in with both feet or get out altogether. The window of opportunity may be closing. Something must be done before HA is viewed as just another in a series of outdated experimental technologies that never really yielded anything of value. Remember “The Clapper”?