Hype and usefulness
"The problem is that, even with much hype and excitement around things like the Nest thermostat and the Sonos multi-room wireless speakers..."
Well, that's the nature of hype. Those who hype the products think everybody will be just BEGGING to get the products they are hyping if they REALLY understood how they worked, or whatever. Sometimes others really DON'T understand the new product, other times they understand it very well and are simply not interested. (Note by "Those who hype the products", I don't mean just salesmen or people working for the company... there are almost always some... lets say very enthusiastic customers.. also known as fanbois depending on how big a fan they are.)
A) No, I'm not going to rent my door lock and thermostat. I mean, come on!
B) The suggested terms aren't even that good. $50 a month for $800 in gear? The cell cos here (which are widely considered a rip-off) seem to be perfectly happy to take $30 a month over a 2 year term, for a $700 device (that'd make it $33.33 a month for an $800 device.)
C) The very same people who can't save up $800 for a Nest, and a fancy doorlock, and the other thing, are also not going to want to pay up $50 a month either. They may also not have a smartphone to control it anyway (I thought nearly everyone did, but the place I work now -- which is not high paying -- the number of flip phones is absolutely shocking).
D) I think most people are not buying this stuff because they don't have a use for it. These guys have deluded themselves into thinking they've created new markets, when in reality they have come up with (sometimes better) ways to do things that people just weren't doing that much to begin with.
For example... I have zero interest in multi-room speakers (if I want to hear something from the bathroom or kitchen I can just turn it up a bit.) People have been able to run some speaker wire room-to-room since the beginning of time (as it were) or use short-range FM... and people don't do it much that way either.
I have light switches to control my lights; the Hue light might be a fair replacement for anyone who is using tinted bulbs and mood lighting but I've seen very few people do that either.
I have no idea why I'd want a remote-control thermostat. Mostly, people just turn the heat down or A/C up (i.e. less run time) when they go on vacation, and have programmability for when they are there. (Personally, I just have a dial thermostat.) I simply can't see spending the kind of money these cost just to be able to pre-heat or pre-cool the house if I was coming back from vacation. Or renting it.
And, finally, I don't have a garage door. To be honest, a phone-controlled garage door opener probably is a genuine improvement over one that requires a proprietary remote as most do. But, it depends on cost... if the phone-controlled one is so much more expensive I could lose and replace my proprietary remote a dozen times, it kind of negates the advantage.