"The whole concept of a "smart home" can be as simple as light bulbs you turn on and off with your phone, or as complex as simultaneously raising your blinds, turning on the lights, unlocking the door, changing the thermostat and playing your favorite Spotify station when you open your garage door as you pull into your driveway. That the smart-home concept means something different to every person makes it hard to convey in a few seconds to the average shopper at Best Buy or Home Depot."
This paragraph is by far the best paragraph I've ever read when it comes to Home Automation. As a marketer and owner of a Home Automation company, this was definitely an epiphany. Companies (me included) are too busy putting out the newest products, while not stepping back and realizing that they are speaking to HA enthusiasts and not the average consumer who may not have the knowledge of what it takes to create a smart home.
I wholeheartedly agree with your Amazon Echo statement. There's a reason they are putting out $50 units right now and it's because they want one in every home. They've opened themselves up to working with these different brands, and not creating a closed ecosystem like it appears Apple is trying to do.
Thanks again for writing this -- I sincerely appreciate it.