Nine out of ten consumers are excited about the ‘smart home,’ but definition isn’t clear and security and privacy issues abound

New Comprehensive Report from iModerate Delves into Consumers' Thoughts and Opinions via One-on-One Conversations


Oct 29, 2014

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DENVER—October 29, 2014—Consumers foresee the arrival of the smart home as even more imminent than that of smart cars or wearable technology. And while they welcome it, their enthusiasm is tempered by some confusion around the smart home concept, as well as concerns about price, ease of use, and physical and data security, according to new research from iModerate, a leading qualitative research firm.

While consumers aren’t quite sure if the smart home is a product, a series of products, or a comprehensive system they can purchase, they envision the smart home as a means to solve numerous problems and issues they face on a daily basis. Study participants said they think a smart home would be most beneficial when they’re away from home:  specifically, they said a smart home would alleviate worries of leaving an appliance on (72%); help lower energy bills (71%); and reduce burglary worries (58%).

In terms of safety and security, however, consumers see the smart home concept as something of a double-edged sword: they believe it will offer peace of mind to them and their families, but they are wary of the security and privacy issues a smart home could expose. Study participants said they like the idea of being able to peek in to their homes, to remotely control home functions, and to receive alerts if there is an attempted intrusion or mechanical problem that occurs while they’re away. Conversely, consumers are fearful that security measures could backfire, data collected by smart home systems could be exploited, and smart locks could be easily hacked.

The study also found that very few people know where to start in purchasing or setting up a smart home and that providing live demonstrations is vital for manufacturers and retailers. Those who have entered the market most often started with the purchase of a smart thermostat, since it combines many valuable aspects of a smart home: convenience, energy efficiency, comfort, and cost savings, to name a few.

“We found our conversations with consumers fascinating in terms of how eager people are to embrace the smart home. They perceive the technology would generally better the home experience. Only 7% indicated concern that it would make their homes feel cold and uninviting, whereas the majority envisioned smart home technology as a silent task-master, freeing up time they’d typically spend on household chores and, in turn, allowing them more time with their families. With that in mind, they’re eager to get their hands on the technology and integrate it into their homes, but have no idea where to start or which manufacturers to purchase from,” said Adam Rossow, Partner at iModerate. “As such, the smart home represents a nearly new—and open— frontier for manufacturers and marketers.”

The report is available here as a free download from the iModerate website.

About iModerate

iModerate bridges the communication gap between companies and consumers through individual conversations, yielding decision-driving context that increases revenue, profitability and ROI. Founded in 2004 and headquartered in Denver, CO, iModerate is known for its expertise in the American Consumer and for pioneering and championing the online one-on-one. With a proprietary cognitive framework, and 10 years of experience rooted in how individuals think and behave, iModerate helps organizations in a wide variety of sectors get past their data sets, establish customer intimacy and obtain real insight—the kind that tells you why things are happening and what action to take. For more information, please visit www.imoderate.com.

iModerate allowed us to not only connect with this hard-to-reach audience but to get a deeper understanding of their feelings on the subject of public service. iModerate promised at the outset to expand and clarify the quantitative findings in a way traditional online survey research has previously been unable to, and they delivered on this claim. As a result, we were able to expose the emotions shaping the perceptions of the class of 9/11.

Marc Porter Magee, Partnership for Public Service