Wednesday, 08 March 2017 00:06

Aussies slow to switch on to connected home solutions

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Aussies slow to switch on to connected home solutions Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Only about 10% of households in Australia, the UK and the US have connected home solutions, according to a newly published online study of nearly 10,000 people in the three countries.

The study, by research firm Gartner, reveals that the adoption of newer connected homes solutions is still at the early adopter phase and providers of solutions now need to focus beyond that.

"Although households in the developed world are beginning to embrace connected home solutions, providers must push beyond early adopter use," said Amanada Sabia, principal research analyst at Gartner.

"If they are to successfully widen the appeal of the connected home, providers will need to identify what will really motivate current users to inspire additional purchases.”

Connected homes, says Gartner, consist of a set of devices and services that are connected to each other and to the Internet and can automatically respond to pre-set rules, be remotely accessed and managed by mobile apps or a browser, and send alerts or messages to the user(s).

The survey found that home security alarm systems, the more established of connected home solutions, have nearly double the adoption rates (18%) of newer connected home solutions such as home monitoring (11%), home automation or energy management (9%), and health and wellness management (11%) – and overall adoption rates were 5% to 6% greater in the US, where they were first marketed.

Gartner says, however, excluding home security alarm services for which a monthly fee is generally paid, solution providers may find monetising connected services challenging, as the survey revealed that less than half of households pay for subscription-based home monitoring and automation/energy management solutions.

And, in the US, where the home monitoring industry is more developed, Gartner says the survey reveals that 59% of households with a home monitoring solution indicate they do pay a monthly fee, proving they see value for these solutions.

“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,” Gartner notes.

“The challenge is even greater in the UK, where few home automation services are subscription based and 58% of households with home automation get their 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.

And, the survey reveals that 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 – while 58% of respondents showed a preference for separate, independent, stand-alone devices.

According to Gartner, 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%) rated 51 or more toward the preference of one app integrating connected home devices and services, while 58% 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," said Jessica Ekholm,  research director at Gartner.

"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 concludes.

To read more on the Gartner report – ‘Survey Analysis: Connected Home Solutions Remain in the Early Adopter Stage’ – click here.


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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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