Report reveals future for smart homes

The demand for smart homes has some way to go before it catches up with the technology available, according to a new report from the Inwido Group.

The Group – which owns UK brands such as Allan Brothers and CWG Choices – asked 3,000 homeowners in the UK and Scandinavia about their attitudes to smart homes.

While the use of smart technology in this sector might largely be confined to locks and security devices at the moment, the report – ‘Human Home in a Digital World’ – also looked at relevant emerging concepts such as: energy cells connected to windows; windows that automatically adjust to control light and air quality in the home; and front doors that can be monitored and opened remotely.

Probably the most significant finding to emerge was that, while the homeowners questioned like the convenience and control offered by a smart home, only 12% of them thought their home was already smart to some extent, and only a further 38% wanted it to be smart in the future.

The main reason quoted by the 50% who weren’t interested felt technology did not contribute to a ‘homely’ feel.

The biggest interest in smart technology came from millennials – those born between 1984 and 2004. They were much more keen to embrace the smart home than generation X homeowners born between 1965 and 1984, and twice as keen as post-war baby boomers.

The Inwido Group commissioned the study in part because it already produces windows, doors and blinds with ‘smart features’, and wanted to be able to inform its future development and innovation.

It asked homeowners which of the emerging concepts made the most sense to them and which felt far off or even far-fetched. By far the best response was to alarm systems that could communicate with homeowners.

Wolfgang Gorner, group sales director for Inwido in the UK, said: “Fabricators and installers already promoting smart security solutions probably don’t need to be told that it is tech savvy millennials who are more enthusiastic about the technology than their older neighbours. However, given the fact that a majority of those questioned expected between 20% and 29% of homes to be smart in 10 years’ time, the focus should clearly be on the 50% of respondents who said they were interested in the technology. That’s still a very significant market to target.”