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Research: What Do Homeowners Really Want From the Smart Home?

Alarm.com recently conducted a survey to better understand consumer preferences and perspectives on the smart home.  Our survey focused on homeowners and families: what they want and need, how they prefer to get it, and how they expect the smart home to work for them. 

We found that the smart home has gone mainstream.  Homeowners are excited about its promise to make things safer, smarter and more efficient. 

There are some important conditions, however.  Our research indicates that homeowners want to avoid the frustrations commonly experienced by early adopters of the ‘standalone device' model. 

Instead, they prefer that connected devices work together automatically to proactively solve real challenges like security, energy savings and comfort.  With more devices joining the smart home, homeowners expressed a clear preference for professional service providers to install, service and monitor homeowners' new technology. 

Here are some of the key findings and data points of Alarm.com's Homeowners Survey, a study of 1,022 homeowners in the United States. 

1: Homeowners are excited about the smart home… and also confused 

Standalone devices have generated huge interest and excitement for smart home technology, but they're confusing to evaluate, hard to install and even harder to connect into a broader solution. Homeowners understand this – especially the ones who've already dipped a toe into the water – and they're looking for a better experience. 
 

  • Nearly half (48 percent) are very or extremely interested in smart home products; but just 28 percent are very or extremely knowledgeable about them.
  • 59 percent report being confused by the number of different smart home products on the market.
  • 54 percent think that smart home products are too complicated to understand and set up.


2: Homeowners want devices to work together through a single app 

It takes a true smart home, not a collection of devices, to create the kind of experience homeowners expect.  They want devices to work together to proactively make the home safer, smarter and more efficient and a single app to control everything. 
 

  • 91 percent expect that different devices in the home should work together automatically.
  • 88 percent would prefer a single app to control all devices.
  • 88 percent say that smart home products should remind them when they forget important things.


3: Homeowners want support

Just as they turn to professional service providers to help manage other critical aspects of their home, homeowners show a preference for expert help when it comes to the smart home.  While the early adopters might enjoy the challenge of configuring standalone devices to work together, homeowners want easy, family-friendly solutions that don't require getting ‘under the hood.'  Our survey indicates that ‘Smart Home as a Service' is the way forward. 
 

  • 83 percent of homeowners would rely on professional help; home security providers are the most preferred channel.
  • 85 percent would be happier to invest in smart home technology if customer support was reliable.
  • On smart home security products, 79 percent say that installation and monitoring is best left to professionals.


4: Homeowners want reliable, intelligent smart home security

Knowing that the home is safe, secure and protected against a wide range of threats is the most important benefit of smart home technology.  In an emergency, homeowners want robust, professionally monitored security technology they can depend on even if the power is out and the home's phone line and broadband are down.  For day-to-day security, homeowners want a smart, proactive solution that keeps them in control and connects to a broad ecosystem of devices in the home. 
 

  • 82 percent of homeowners want a security system that can signal for help even if the home's power is out or Internet is down.
  • 78 percent want an app that notifies them when something is wrong and enables control of the system from anywhere.
  • 81 percent say that professional monitoring with the ability to dispatch emergency services is very important.
  • 70 percent want their smart home security system to cooperate with other smart products in the home.


5: Parents are leading the mainstream adoption of the smart home

Does having kids make you ‘smarter'? The evidence says ‘yes': parents are more than twice as likely to be interested in smart home technology. That's not a surprise to us; babies need to be kept comfortable; toddlers need a watchful eye; older children need a balance of independence and hands-off monitoring  For every parenting stage and need, the smart home has a solution, so it's no wonder that moms and dads are leading the way in adoption. 
 

  • 67 percent of homeowning parents own a smart home device, compared to 33 percent of homeowning non-parents.
  • 65 percent of homeowning parents are very or extremely interested in smart home products, compared to 26 percent of homeowning non-parents.
  • 91 percent of homeowning parents would consider relying on a smart home professional, compared to 73 percent of homeowners without children.


6: Comfort is just as important as energy savings when it comes to smart thermostats 


While smart thermostats are great at delivering energy savings, most still take the old-fashioned approach to comfort, based entirely on the temperature of the room that the thermostat is in. That's not smart enough for most homeowners, who want precision comfort features as well as smart savings. To deliver both, a smart thermostat needs advanced cloud intelligence that uses data from remote temperature and other activity sensors
 

  • 93 percent of homeowners consider staying comfortable to be equally important to energy savings when it comes to a smart thermostat
  • 52 percent prioritize temperature comfort in rooms other than where their current thermostat is located
  • Living rooms (39 percent) and bedrooms (36 percent) are reported as the most important areas of the home to keep comfortable.


Alarm.com's smarter home security is built for homeowners and families, and currently powers more than 2 million smart homes in the USA.