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The smart home is flailing as a concept—because it sucks

The smart home is flailing as a concept—because it sucks

A couple of weeks ago, the tech industry group Consumer Technology Association (CTA) released a predictably cheery report on the state of consumer technology. It forecasted record-breaking revenues of $487 billion this year, with laptops, wireless earbuds, personal fitness devices, and 5G phones singled out for especially strong growth.

The smart home is flailing as a concept—because it sucks

Yet tucked into that upbeat forecast was a spot of dreariness: Smart home devices, once hailed as tech’s next big computing platform, would experience flat revenues of $15 billion in 2021, with unit sales up 11%.

The CTA says its stagnant forecast is merely a function of competition, as an influx of device makers drive down the cost of hardware. But as someone who’s been living with various smart home gadgets for several years now, I have a different theory: They’re just not worth a big investment unless you have a limitless supply of time and patience.

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