While a new survey suggests disappointing growth, a new generation is set to embrace the benefits of the hi-tech home. Chris Price reports
Despite an increased awareness of what a smart home actually is, uptake for smart home technology still remains surprisingly low. At least that’s one of the key findings of a national survey carried out by YouGov on behalf of Barclays bank.
According to the research, only around one in ten (13 per cent) of homeowners currently claim to use smart home technology in their home. Why so disappointingly low? Well it seems that security concerns may partly be to blame.
Over three in five adults (63 per cent) cite concerns around cyber security, perhaps influenced by news stories about hackers being able to view footage from home security cameras and baby monitors.
There was even a story in last week’s Daily Mail Online (13th September 2017) about how your smart coffee maker could be a national security risk!
“Each of us probably knows someone who has fallen victim to a criminal fraudster. Hackers are using evermore sophisticated tactics to phish personal and financial data,” says Laura Flack, Barclays Head of Digital Safety.
“Unfortunately, smart home technology can provide a new way in for hackers. We need to super-charge our digital know-how and talk to our friends and relatives to prevent these crimes from happening.”
Of course, another factor may well be cost. With wages, especially in the public sector, squeezed, one concern is that smart home technology is simply too expensive.
Whereas Barclays previous smart home survey in 2015 suggested UK homeowners would be willing to pay an average of £3,310 for a new home stuffed full of the latest technology, the latest survey suggests that figure has dropped by as much as 60 per cent.
But it’s not all bad news for the smart home. Of the technologies listed in the Barclays survey, fibre optic broadband is the most popular with one in three (32 per cent) saying they would be interested in installing the technology. Solar panels are popular too with 30 per cent saying they are considering installing them.
Certainly regional differences play a major part when it comes to both smart home awareness and take up.
Nearly a quarter (24%) of Scots surveyed sad they’ve of smart home technology and fully understand what it means. Perhaps this is because of an awareness around The Scottish Cities Alliance’s Key Facts booklet and the thousands of pounds being spent on Scotland’s Smart Cities schemes.
What’s more, Northern Ireland is strongest when it comes to solar panel uptake, with 44% of adults there interested in installing them in the future – 46% above the national average.
Live in the North West or East Midlands? Then you are probably more interested in the smart home. According to the survey 13% of people in those regions currently use some form of smart home technology – the highest uptake rate of all UK regions.
So what do the next few years hold for smart home technology? Is it all doom and gloom for the smart home? Certainly not.
It seems that while interest among current home owners remains relatively low (30% of UK homeowners aren’t interested in installing smart home technology in the future), interest among prospective home buyers is much greater.
Almost half (48%) of renters who plan to buy in the next 5 years would be interested in installing solar panels and fibre optic broadband in their home while 35% of renters who plan to buy in the next 5 years said they would be interested in installing a smart security system.
Not surprisingly, it seems, the future success of smart home technology rests with manufacturers understanding the needs and concerns of the younger generation.
For more information about Barclays Smart Homes Survey click here