When it comes to explaining, marketing and discussing home automation we tend to rely on certain, key buzzwords to help us streamline the conversation. But as technology changes and consumer need evolves, it’s only natural for industry lingo to transform as well.
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has worked hard to stay abreast of changing industry formats and standards, including consumer behavior and consumer perceptions of the custom install industry.
Roughly 7 years ago, the CEA first tackled home automation verbiage, in an attempt to lock down what phrases consumers preferred to use when discussing the concept. The answer then was “smart home” – a term that seemed to resonate well with consumers of all levels.
Even today, the smart home concept continues to hold strong, painting a vivid picture of a home that interacts with its owner, can be effortlessly controlled and managed, and most importantly can be customized to each homeowner’s unique lifestyle and preferences.
Fast forward to today, after years of further innovation and more widespread, mainstream adoption, the latest CEA research suggests that “home monitoring” is the latest buzzword found relevant by today’s consumers:
Of the respondents who were already familiar with the concept of home systems, 75% thought “home monitoring” described it well, compared to 62% for smart home, 55% for home automation and 53% for connected home.
Drilling down further, to look at those who were not already familiar with the concept of the integrated home, the home monitoring phrase again pulled ahead, with 52% of these respondents agreeing it described the idea of home automation well, compared to 32% who supported the term “smart home.”
Why the sudden shift from smart home to home monitoring?
It’s possible that the phrase makes more sense now due to the increase in mobile management solutions and the inherent rise of smart devices and tablets.
With a variety of commercials showcasing mobile apps for security management and one-touch solutions for lighting control, it’s no wonder consumers are putting the pieces together, correlating their smartphone with the concept of home monitoring and mobile control.
Now, as home technology specialists and custom integrators would point out, home control isn’t necessarily as point-and-shoot as some of those commercials make it seem. A truly connected lifestyle relies on the expertise of a custom installation that brings all of the moving pieces together, streamlining your home’s functionality and devices. Needless to say, mobile management and monitoring have certainly become coveted, connected lifestyle attributes that leave consumers wanting more.
And as important as it is to consider all options for discussing the connected home, the soon-to-be-released CEA study also unveiled some other captivating consumer opinions:
- 67% of consumers want a professional installer; another 18 percent would prefer to install a system themselves, while 9 percent would prefer “someone else” to do the installation for them. (Presumably, that means an integrator, family member or friend.) Only 7 percent did not know who they would prefer to install a system for them.
- 88% of consumers prefer a single, integrated app to run their home automation system vs. just 12 percent who would prefer individual apps for each subsystem.
- Security companies are identified as the No. 1 source a consumer would call to install a home automation system (23 percent). Home improvement centers came in second (17 %) while “professional installer” was third (10%).
- When asked why they would buy a home automation system, “security” was the most important driver (62%), followed by “Energy Savings” (20%) and “Convenience” (14%).
Overall, the results from the CEA’s latest research study will prove highly informative as we move into the new year. Better understanding consumer perceptions and what homeowners are looking for when it comes to a connected lifestyle can help unite both manufacturers and custom integrators, enabling further education and driving even stronger adoption of the connected home.