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Internet of...'so what'

While the research reveals a lack of consumer interest in being smarter at home, those who already own a smart device notice the benefits

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Those homes with a smart device feel a positive impact
Those homes with a smart device feel a positive impact

Smart home technology companies are facing an uphill struggle if they are to persuade consumers to buy in to the IoT energy revolution in their homes, new research finds.


More than 2,000, UK households were questioned for the PwC study, Smart home technology - Internet of Things or Indifference to Things? Nearly three quarters of people (average 72 per cent) not planning to install smart tech such as heating systems, plugs, appliances, lighting, renewable energy devices or automated cleaning appliances in their homes. They also said they were unwilling to pay for the devices.


However, four-fifths (81 per cent) of respondents with smart heating devices noticed a positive impact in the daily running of their homes. Almost all (95 per cent) who own smart appliances such as ovens that download recipes and fridges report the benefits.


According to the survey, one third of consumers (35 per cent) would introduce smart tech if there were paybacks through a reduction in energy bills or free supply and installation (37 per cent).


PwC reckons it takes on average between six- to eight years for a tech revolution such as broadband or smart phones to become the norm. This means, it said, suppliers have a short timeframe in which to win the hearts and minds of consumers and turn smart energy tech into a sustainable revenue stream.


“Momentum is continuing to build in the connected home market and we believe smart energy will have a key role to play, said Steve Jennings, UK power and utilities leader, PwC.


“However, it’s clear from our survey that if suppliers and new market entrants are to win over consumers, they will need to develop propositions that not only cut through what appears to be a perceived complex technology challenge but address the reluctance of consumers to fund the introduction of many of these smart energy tech products into their homes.”


Should consumers be persuaded to invest in smart energy tech in future, another potential hurdle is who will install it for them as only one in three (29 per cent) were confident they could install or set the devices up themselves? One third (34 per cent) of respondents said they would rely on their energy company, one in three (28 per cent) would choose smart tech developers or telecoms firms with one in ten trusting a high street retailer to provide support.


“Companies which can swiftly adapt their offers and marketing to meet the needs of this market, recognising the range of demographics and buyer behaviours, will be the front runners -- not the also rans -- as smart energy tech becomes significantly more commonplace over the next six- to eight years,” added Jennings.




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