From an online survey of over 4,000 US, UK and German consumers in January 2015 from the Bluetooth Special Interest Group, the research shows that almost half (46 percent) of consumers think smart home devices will become mainstream within five years. The survey, which looked at US, UK and German consumer attitudes towards the smart home, revealed strong consumer excitement about smart home implementations and their potential to become widespread. While only 6 percent of consumers surveyed think the era of the smart home has arrived already, two thirds think we'll be living in automated homes within the next decade. This strong consumer interest in such devices was tempered by their high expectations for simplicity and cost-effectiveness.
Consumers listed what they feel smart home solutions need to become a commonplace purchase. Simplicity is paramount, with 54 percent expressing a device should be straightforward to use, and 41 percent believing it should be easy to set up. Price and security also figured prominently. 42 percent of consumers feel that both keeping their data secure and offering products at competitive price points will make smart home devices much more desirable. Currently, 67 percent of consumers are concerned that some smart home devices would make their data vulnerable.
“This study confirms consumers are looking for smart home products that 'just work',” said Mark Powell, executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. “It's evident demand for smart home devices is ramping up and consumers are keen to live in the scenarios conjured up by the Jetsons over 60 years ago. Smart home manufacturers need to deliver products that are simple, cost-effective and secure for this segment to become mainstream.”
The past few years have seen enormous levels of hype around devices such as smart washing machines and smart kitchen gadgets. The research revealed that the hype has yet to materialize into actual demand from consumers. Instead, the devices consumers find most appealing are highly convenient solutions that allow them to control their environment, such as smart heating/thermostats (45 percent), smart lighting (34 percent) and smart security/monitoring devices (33 percent).
The results also showed a preference towards the smart home solutions that offer tangible benefits. For example, 66 percent of consumers say that being able to control their heating or lighting remotely would help them save energy and cut their energy bills. A further 73 percent would like to receive smartphone notifications from their home security system if it detects a threat.
“It's clear there is an appetite for these kinds of solutions but widespread adoption will require the use of mainstream connectivity technologies,” concludes Powell. “As we've seen in other segments, niche technologies simply cannot provide the simplicity, interoperability and security that consumers demand. Bluetooth Smart technology offers all those things with an enormous install base in smartphones, tablets and PCs, a simple pairing process and AES-128 bit cryptography for maximum security. While consumers feel smart home devices aren't quite mainstream yet, Bluetooth is already paving the way for manufacturers to deliver the products consumers want. These manufacturers can also be confident in the knowledge that Bluetooth Smart has a development environment that makes it easy to bring these products to market.”
Key stats at a glance
- 6 percent think smart home devices are already mainstream i.e. most people own a smart home device or consider it normal to do so
- 46 percent think smart home devices will be mainstream within the next five years
- 66 percent think smart home devices will be mainstream within the next 10 years
The top five most important factors when deciding which smart home device to purchase are:
- It should be simple to use – 54 percent
- It should be competitively priced – 42 percent
- It should keep data secure – 42 percent
- It should be easy to set up – 41 percent
- It should connect easily and quickly with a smartphone, tablet or PC – 28 percent
- 73 percent would be frustrated if it took too long to set up a smart home device
- 67 percent are concerned some smart home devices wouldn't keep their data secure
The top three types of devices consumers find most appealing are:
- Smart home heating/thermostat – 45 percent
- Smart lighting/light bulbs – 34 percent
- Smart security and monitoring devices – 33 percent
- 66 percent would like to be able to program their home system to perform automatic actions, such as lights turning off when exiting a room or heating turning on when returning home from work
- 73 percent would like to receive smartphone notifications from their home security system if it detects a threat