Consumers unfazed (and uninterested) by IoT and smart homes

The tech industry is in full swing to embrace the Internet of Things (IoT) and the ways in which it could revolutionise business and our daily lives, but new research has revealed that consumers do not share the same level of excitement for smart technology.

PwC surveyed over 2,000 people and found that almost three quarters of consumers have no interest in putting smart technology into their homes in the coming years. This greatly contradicts the vision of the smart home that consumer electronics companies have been peddling over the past few years in which every house will have a fridge, a coffee maker, a thermostat and a host of other devices that communicate with one another and the cloud to offer a better experience to consumers.

The research did find that of those consumers who currently have smart technology in their homes, nearly all of them (95 per cent) said that they saw the benefits of their smart devices. The findings have really shone light on the gap that exists between the hype of IoT technology and its actual adoption by consumers. If the industry wants to meet its expected worth of $100 billion by 2020, then this gap will need to be bridged by companies that can sell not only the products but also the lifestyle that smart technology could bring to its adopters.

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

Another obstacle facing the adoption of smart technology is in regard to who will install, it with 34 per cent of respondents saying they would rely on an energy company, 28 per cent opting for tech companies or telecoms and 10 per cent saying they would be willing to trust a large electronics retailer.

Richard Hepworth, PwC's head of digital utilities, made the argument that energy companies are in the best position to push a large scale adoption of smart technology by consumers: “With real opportunities around smart thermostats, for example– a potential entry level to other smart energy tech for households – energy suppliers have clear ground they can build on in this market. How they react now could define their success as this growing smart energy revolution takes hold.”

As IoT and smart technology become mainstream we will likely see a frontrunner emerge that is able to convince consumers that these new technologies are not only something they want but also something they need.

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