The smart home: Something to text home about

The smart home: Something to text home about

iModerate Author

Nov 06, 2014

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As consumers in this tech-savvy age, we’re eager to automate things we’ve previously been accustomed to doing manually. We’re using apps like Mint to cut out balancing checkbooks; we’re ordering household essentials through programs such as Target’s Subscriptions; we’re watching what we want, when we want, through programs such as Hulu and Netflix rather than tuning in to watch shows air live.

But can our appreciation of all things instant, automated, and programmed translate into our home lives? In our latest study, Home is Where the Tech is: Synching up with Consumers on the Smart House, we reached out to consumers to uncover their perceptions of the smart home, and discover whether they’re ready to adopt smart home technology. We found that while there are some things they’d like to remain the same, namely cooking and family time, they’re excited by the potential to improve the security and comfort of their homes. As it turns out, the most valuable benefits of smart home technology – security, comfort, cost savings, and peace of mind – are most salient to consumers when they’re out of the house. They appreciate the ability to tune in from afar in order to:

Monitor their home’s vital signs. Consumers are excited by the potential to check in and monitor their home’s vital signs while away – whether out running errands in their neighborhood or on vacation thousands of miles from home. The ability to stay up to speed with the status of their home makes them feel that they would be able to get a head start on a crisis, such as a fire or burst pipe, reducing the potential for maintenance bills, renovations, and heartache.

Ensure the safety of dependents. Even parents that are comfortable leaving their pets and children home alone for extended periods of time have a mental rolodex of “what ifs” filed away – what if a burglar entered the house when my son’s home alone? What if the pet is trapped in a house fire? Those with elderly parents feel similarly; they’re not confident that their parents can handle a crisis, and are comforted by the fact that they could receive an alert in the event of a shift in home environment, such as a window breaking. The ability to check in on the house via surveillance system provides reassurance that everyone is safe and well.

Turn appliances on and off with ease. When we polled consumers on problems they frequently encounter in their homes, many issues related to accidentally leaving things on. Sixty-five percent of consumers accidentally leave lights on at home on a consistent basis, and 72% frequently worry that they may have left an appliance on. Being able to check the status of lights, appliances, doors, and locks provides consumers with peace of mind; forgetting to lock the house or turn off the oven is easily fixed, regardless of where they were rushing off to.

Maximize time. Some tasks in the home are viewed as dead time – while necessary, they are neither fulfilling nor exciting. Consumers love the idea of technology stepping in to take care of these tedious tasks, such as vacuuming or even preheating the oven, while they’re out of the house. That way, once they’re home for the evening, consumers can focus on getting right to cooking or spending time with family – viewed as the pillars of home life – rather than waste limited home and family time on monotonous domestic duties.

Want to learn more about consumer perceptions of the smart home, including brand perceptions and shipping behaviors? Download the complete report, Home is Where the Tech is: Synching Up with Consumers on the Smart Home.

iModerate Author

The results we received from the iModerate one-on-one, in-depth conversations were much more enlightening than what we typically garner from open-ended verbatim responses. The live moderator offers us the ability and flexibility to probe deeper on certain points, enabling us to get stronger, less vague information. That unique capability has proved extremely valuable to us, and has made this IM-based platform an integral part of our research toolbox.

Colleen Hepner, VP, C&R Research