Canadian Underwriter

Price continues to be hurdles to adoption of smart home devices: survey

June 12, 2017   by Canadian Underwriter

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Price is among the top barriers to more people adopting smart home technology to help ease home management pain points in the United States, notes a survey of 1,000-plus adults south of the border released by U.K. smart home brand Hive.

What clearly seems to be holding people back from more fully adopting smart home technology are “concerns over price, ease of use and whether it all works together reliably,” Roy Vella, North America vice president and general manager of Centrica Connected Home, the business behind Hive, says in a Hive statement.

The seven-question online omnibus survey – conducted by YouGov – was fielded among 1,116 people in the U.S., 18 and older, this past May. The idea was to better understand pain points about home management (like cleaning, laundry, preparing meals and security) and how a smart home system could help reduce the load.

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A smart home was defined as a home set-up or ecosystem with lighting, heating and other electronic devices (such as video cameras, sensors and home appliances) that can “communicate” with one another and be controlled by a time schedule or remotely.

Respondents identified the three key barriers as the following:

  • Price – 91% of respondents who have heard of smart homes say installing a smart home is not a priority when it comes to household expenses, and 76% report they would need to scale back on something to afford making their home a smart home;
  • Ease of use – 70% of respondents note that they believe installing a smart home seems like it would require professional help; and
  • Compatibility – 85% of respondents agree that if they were to install a smart home, they would prefer to do so using products from one brand rather than piecing together products from multiple brands.

Despite reservations, survey findings show that the majority of respondents are open to smart home experiences. In all, 73% of respondents indicate they can see ways in which a smart home system could make their day-to-day lives easier.

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Still, two-thirds of those polled say they are not sure how a smart home could make their lives easier, and 56% report they feel they “don’t speak the language” of smart homes, indicating a lack of confidence and comfort with the technology.

“Our research tells us that Americans who manage their home day-to-day feel it takes a lot of work to do so, with almost seven in 10 wishing it took less time and nearly nine in 10 feeling freer when they have more control over their homes,” Vella reports.

In all, 93% of respondents who manage their home on a day-to-day basis indicate a range of activities they would participate in – reading and spending time with loved ones being the top two such activities – if they were able to cut down on time spent managing their home.

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Following commitment by parent company Centrica plc – an international energy and services company – to invest £500 million to take the Hive experience multi-market, the brand recently unveiled an advertising campaign.

The television, radio, digital out-of-home, print and social channels campaign – running June through August – is rolling out initially across the U.S., Canada, U.K. and Ireland. It includes visits to seven local markets in North America, including Vancouver in mid-August.

“Thanks to our knowledge from more than half a million customers, we know there’s no one-size-fits-all approach. We’re responding to that, providing tailored and accessible smart home experiences to make everyday life easier,” comments Nina Bhatia, managing director of Centrica Connected Home.