iModerate: Smart Home Intrigues, Confuses Consumers

Consumers believe the smart home will be a reality before smart cars or wearable technology, but their enthusiasm is tempered by confusion around the concept, according to new research from iModerate, a market research firm. They also are wary about costs associated with establishing a smart home, as well as ease of use and physical and data security, the company noted.

Indeed, consumers aren’t quite sure if a smart home is a product, a series of products, or a comprehensive system they can purchase, iModerate noted. In the general sense, they conceive of a smart home as a means to solve numerous problems and issues they face on a daily basis.

Participants in the iModerate research said they think a smart home would be most beneficial when they’re away from home, addressing considerations as regards leaving an appliance on, a concern for 72% of respondents, lowering energy bills, an issue for 71%, and reducing burglary worries, an advantage for 58%. A smart thermostat generally becomes the threshold to smart home purchasing, as the device, combines many valuable aspects of a smart home including convenience, energy efficiency, comfort, and cost savings, according to iModerate. However, many consumers ultimately conceive of a smart home as one that can assume everyday tasks and free up time.

Despite their security priorities, consumer do weigh privacy issues when thinking about smart homes. Study participants said they favor the option to peek into their homes, to remotely control home functions and to receive alerts if there is an attempted intrusion or equipment problem that occurs while they’re away, but they worry that security measures could backfire and smart home systems suffer infiltration.

The study also found that most people don’t know where to start in setting up a smart home. So, live demonstrations are vital for manufacturers and retailers trying to encourage consideration of smart home purchases.

“We found our conversations with consumers fascinating in terms of how eager people are to embrace the smart home,” said Adam Rossow, partner at iModerate, in announcing the research results. “They perceive the technology would generally better the home experience. Only 7% indicated concern that it would make their homes feel cold and uninviting, whereas the majority envisioned smart home technology as a silent task-master, freeing up time they’d typically spend on household chores and, in turn, allowing them more time with their families. With that in mind, they’re eager to get their hands on the technology and integrate it into their homes, but have no idea where to start or which manufacturers to purchase from. As such, the smart home represents a nearly new, and open, frontier for manufacturers and marketers.”