Smart Home Technology Is Exciting—But Is It Safe?

The Internet of Things has been a reality for a while now, and it seems as though we are well on our way to a world in which all of our devices are “smart.” As with any new technological development, there are plenty of early adopters quick to embrace it, and just as many skeptics who are wary of its efficacy and sustainability. Some of the most popular forms of smart technology can be found in the home, often in the form of responsive devices like Google Home and the increasingly popular Amazon Echo. But these gadgets are only the beginning, and in order to help brands looking to get in on the trend ensure that they spend their resources wisely, we decided to explore current consumer attitudes and behavior surrounding smart home technology.

The Research

In order to conduct our investigation into what types of smart home technology resonate with and interest consumers most, we launched an Exploratory Research Group* consisting of men and women open to the technology, and split between those who already use it and those who do not. Our qualitative market research then pursued the following objectives:

  • Explore interest, possible use cases, and barriers to adoption for smart home tech
  • Determine which features, appliances, or devices consumers would like to control remotely
  • Generate ideas for in-home devices that could be integrated with smart tech
  • Understand the appeal of current connected home systems and/or devices

The Results

Smart Home Integration Is Popular and Attractive

The convenience and control of remote access are the most attractive features of smart home technology, with the potential for increased savings and energy efficiency following close behind. Temperature control, security systems, lights, media, and appliances are all devices that consumers deem appropriate for integrating, and most trust Amazon and Google to build quality offerings. Many respondents even pointed out the benefits of smart home technology for those with disabilities such as limited mobility or blindness, as well as the added safety of being able to, say, turn off an oven after you’ve already left the house.

 

When I think of smart home, I think of everything available at the touch of a button. No need to get up and turn off the light; just use a button on your phone. Forgot to start the dryer before you left for work? No need to turn around, just click a button on your phone.

Female, 23, Other device

But Some Consumers Are Still Wary of the New Tech

IRG Respondant

As with any new technology, I’ll admit I err on the side of caution and let everyone else sample it for a while ‘til they can work out all/any kinks. I love the idea of it, but with hackers and all the other possible security anomalies this one is a bit more nerve-racking to me. I do all financial things over my phone but the idea of signing in and accessing my home security system via my phone is unsettling.

Female, 36, None

Though intrigued by the idea, there are still plenty of respondents who had questions and concerns for this new technology’s effect. Some worried about the blurry line between gimmick and utility, citing the laziness of having a fridge that checks its contents for you. Others were turned off by the perceived cost and complication of integrating and using the devices, with many concerned that they would be left without sufficient tech support. But the most mentioned barrier to adoption was device security and susceptibility to hackers.

Though still skeptical of this first generation technology, respondents were generally excited and optimistic about smart home devices; and addressing what reservations potential users still have could help convert a number of them into loyal customers. Check out the full report to learn more valuable consumer insights concerning

  • How respondents envision and define the typical smart home user
  • Consumer wish lists for whole-home integration and device-specific options
  • What questions consumers have about data security, collecting, and sharing
  • All brands consumers mentioned as being trusted to deliver on smart home technology expectations

Download Executive Summary

* An Exploratory Research Group is an online qualitative discussion where respondents interact with each other while answering open-ended questions and follow-ups posted by a trained moderator.