Although a ton of research has been coming out recently looking at the high ceiling for smart or connected home growth over the next few years—Parks Associates says that half of homes will have a connected product by 2020—a recent study by research firm Gartner Inc. finds that only about 10 percent of households currently have connected home solutions.
Gartner found that adoption of “newer connected home solutions is still at the early adopter phase,” a conclusion based on responses from nearly 10,000 people in U.S., the U.K. and Australia during the second half of 2016. According to the study, “connected home solutions” consist of a set of devices and services that are connected to each other and to the Internet and can automatically respond to preset rules, be remotely accessed and managed by mobile apps or a browser, and send alerts or messages to the user (s).
"Although households in the developed world are beginning to embrace connected home solutions, providers must push beyond early adopter use," Amanda Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner said in the announcement. "If they are to successfully widen the appeal of the connected home, providers will need to identify what really motivates current users to inspire additional purchases."
The survey found that home security alarm systems, the more established of connected home solutions, have nearly double the adoption rates (18 percent) of newer connected home solutions such as home monitoring (11 percent), home automation or energy management (9 percent), and health and wellness management (11 percent). Overall adoption rates were five- to six percent greater in the U.S., where they were first marketed.
However, excluding home security alarm services for which a monthly fee is generally paid, solution providers may find monetizing connected services challenging as the survey revealed that less than half of households currently pay for subscription-based home monitoring and automation/energy management solutions.
“In the U.S., where the home monitoring industry is more developed, 59 percent of households with a home monitoring solution indicate they do pay a monthly fee, thus proving they see value for these solutions,” according to Gartner. “However, charging for subscriptions for home automation/energy management and health and wellness solutions is more of a challenge since more than half of current households are already using these services free of charge.”
Using a scale of 0 to 100, respondents were asked about their feelings and preferences toward the value of devices, appliances and applications in the connected home ecosystem. Three-quarters of respondents indicated they are happy to manually set temperature and lighting controls versus only one-quarter who expressed an interest in having devices anticipate needs in the home. Furthermore, 58 percent of respondents showed a preference for separate, independent, stand-alone devices.
The study found that respondents are starting to see the value of one app for integrating their connected home devices, appliances and services as well as the importance of brand certification for their connected home devices and services. More than half of the respondents (55 percent) rated 51 or more toward the preference of one app integrating connected home devices and services, while 58 percent rated 51 or more toward the importance of hardware and services being certified by a specific brand.
"Messaging needs to be focused on the real value proposition that the complete connected home ecosystem provides, encompassing devices, service and experience," Jessica Ekholm, research director at Gartner, said in the announcement. "The emphasis needs to be on how the connected home can helps solve daily tasks rather than just being a novelty collection of devices and apps."
Ekholm will provide further analysis on consumers’ use of technology at the Gartner Tech Growth & Innovation Conference 2017 taking place June 19-21 in Huntington Beach, Calif.