Awareness of smart home devices is growing – but what do people really think about them? Gimmicks, a fad or an integral part of everyday life?
A smart home device is one that let you control and/or monitor it remotely from your smartphone; or one that can operate autonomously.
Solar power systems are increasingly becoming an integral part of a smart home and could be considered among these devices, with many inverter and battery systems offering online portals for monitoring electricity production from anywhere with an internet connection.
Other smart devices commonly used in the home include those related to lighting, internet connected security monitoring systems, thermostats, vacuum cleaners and smart TV’s.
As the technology evolves, the smartest devices will be those that can work with other devices.
Using solar again as an example, it may not be too long before you’ll be able to instruct an appliance such as a dryer to switch on only if solar electricity production is above what the appliance will require to operate. The system may also be smart enough to know if that production will likely be sustained for the duration of operating the appliance, i.e. that the weather forecast is for a sunny day.
Use of a dryer in such a way avoids paying peak rates for electricity and the need to run the dryer at night to take advantage of off-peak power rates.
While that’s down the track a little, smart devices are already impacting our lives and many solar owners are benefiting from existing monitoring features.
According to PwC’s “Smart home, seamless life,” 81% of US internet users are aware of smart devices. 26% currently own such a device and 43% are interested in future ownership.
Among those yet to own a smart device, 86% stated a potential for reducing their energy bill or increasing energy efficiency will affect their decision to own a connected home device in the future.
This finding echoes that of other recent reports stating energy efficiency would be a major driver of the smart home market.
An interesting revelation in PwC’s report is that 26% of current owners say they bought their first device to either increase overall convenience, improve their quality of life or to assist with their productivity. Just 6% purchased for energy efficiency reasons; but it seems this will rapidly change as new relevant products become more widely available and more people adopt smart device technology.
Consumer satisfaction levels with smart home devices appears to be quite high in the USA, with 74% of those surveyed saying they were very satisfied and 24% somewhat satisfied. Among those who weren’t, the issue of poor internet connectivity was a common factor with regard to mobile apps accompanying a device.
Among non-solar related smart devices, smart lights are the most popular product, followed by smart video cameras and locks.
65% of all those surveyed said they were excited about the future of smart technology as a part of their everyday life at home.
You can read more of PwC’s insights into smart home device awareness and attitudes here (PDF).