Consumers failing to switch on to ‘connected home’

PwC found most consumers were unwilling to pay for smart domestic devices. Picture: John Devlin
PwC found most consumers were unwilling to pay for smart domestic devices. Picture: John Devlin
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Most consumers lack interest in technology encapsulating the “internet of things” in their homes amid ignorance of its benefits, a new study has found.

PwC said 72 per cent of those surveyed said they were unlikely to introduce connected-home technologies like smart heating systems, renewable energy devices or automated cleaning appliances over the next two to five years, and were unwilling to pay for it.

This was despite the survey finding those already using such devices clearly reporting a positive impact – with 81 per cent saying they benefit from smart heating and more than 95 per cent reaping the rewards of smart appliances, such as ovens that download recipes.

Management consultancy PwC said firms “struggled to shift attitudes and spearhead the hotly anticipated ‘internet of things’ energy revolution in the home”.

PwC added that it took six to eight years for a tech revolution such as broadband or smart phones to become the norm. Suppliers therefore “have a short timeframe in which to win the hearts and minds of consumers and turn smart energy tech into a sustainable revenue stream,” it said.

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Steve Jennings, the group’s power and utilities leader, 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.”

Proving popular were financial incentives, with 37 per cent supporting free supply and installation, and 35 per cent liking payback through lower energy bills.

Jennings added that the business “internet of things” winners would be those swiftly adapting to the demographics and buyer behaviours of the sector.