It reminds me of the recent issues all these ridesharing startups are incurring in relation to taxicab regulations. Yes there is some benefit to the customer of control and regulation in that you want to make sure you are traveling in a properly maintained vehicle with a driver who is not likely to crash. You also want to have some level of protection for drivers against violence and theft. However the huge potential for convenience advantages and cost reductions outweigh those in the aggregate and it is simply a design problem when you ignore special interests. Most people can drive as well as taxi drivers and most cars are safe to travel in. But there is an element of artificial scarcity in the business model. No average driver is going to think about becoming a taxi driver because of the cost of acquiring business and the cost of doing business. These ridesharing apps address the roots of these problems, and attempt to resolve them.
Similarly, the cost of acquiring home automation jobs is high and the volume is low. Unfortunately the customer pays the price for these inefficiencies. It is especially painful to those customers who do not benefit at all from the marketing, fancy showrooms, and hand-holding. Also artificial scarcity is introduced through distribution limitations and lack of public documentation and software access. The analogy starts to diverge when one considers that home automation is not as simple as giving someone a ride and there is not nearly as many people who can program as can drive (but more and more are learning through such gateways as raspberry pi and arduino). But right now we are living in a world of luxury limo service. These problems are still solvable though and it is frustrating that they exist, preventing market forces from operating as they do in other technology industries. It is probably not fair to direct all this frustration at installers, but they are the most visible part of the system. Eventually there will be a more efficient alternative. Things like wireless, easy install (screw in a lightbulb), more local custom programmers available on sites like elance, remote system configuration so you don't need a local programmer, systems that are easier to program in common languages, open source hw/sw, commodity hardware especially due to Asian consumerism (love of gadgets), and other innovations will bring changes. As more programmable commodity hardware enters the home, I expect to see a local tradesman role of Home Programmer become as normal as Air Conditioner Technician.
Edited by az1324 - 4/6/13 at 2:06am