Smart Homes: What New Zealanders think, have, and want.
Ford, Rebecca; Peniamina, Rana
Smart home technologies (such as smart thermostats, smart appliances, smart plugs, and smart lights) can communicate within the home enabling improved, remote and autonomous control over appliances, leading to greater levels of convenience, security, and comfort. Globally, these technologies are rapidly becoming more efficient, cheaper, and more ubiquitous, but to date there is little known about uptake in New Zealand, nor how NZ consumers perceive these technologies. This report explores NZ consumer awareness, knowledge, and attitudes about connected smart home technologies, and the opportunities and barriers for widespread uptake, based on statistical analysis of a national household survey (1636 valid responses). Key findings were: Only 5% of the respondents were ‘very familiar’ with the concept of a smart home, with another 30% ‘somewhat familiar’. 25% were ‘very much’ interested in having a smart home, and another 35% ‘somewhat interested’. When asked about specific smart home products, 54% were ‘somewhat’ or ‘very much’ interested in smart thermostats; 51% in smart appliance; 50% in smart plugs, and 48% in smart lights. The participants interested in purchasing smart home products were younger (by an average of 4 years) and higher earning (by an average of $20K pa) than others. Nearly 30% already own other smart technologies. The main perceived benefits were saving money, better control of energy, and improving comfort and security. The main desired capabilities were remote control of appliances, remotely monitoring appliances, and scheduling appliances to run at pre-defined times. The least desired capability was enabling the retailer to adjust appliances. A very low proportion of respondents own smart home products currently. Less than 5% own smart thermostats, bulbs or plugs. Around 12% say they own smart appliances, although around the same percent were unsure if they owned own one. There is a significant gap between current levels of ownership of smart products, and aspirations to own them. The most common barriers to uptake were stated to be lack of readily available information and lack of knowledge about where to buy these products. Of those who said they were interested in smart products, the main concerns were around data security (40%), difficulty of installation (38%) and value for money (34%). These barriers will need to be overcome if the sizeable market is to be realised
Publisher: Centre for Sustainability, University of Otago
Rights Statement: Copyright the authors
Keywords: Green Grid; Smart home technologies; Home Energy management Systems; smart appliances; NZ consumer awareness; remotely monitored appliances; energy
Research Type: Project Report
The authors would like to acknowledge the Smart Grid Forum for funding this research. They thank Merdian, Powershop, Mercury, Genesis Energy, and solarcity for supporting the survey used in this analysis. They also acknowledge the aligned GREEN Grid research project, funded by the Ministry of Business Innovation and Employment (MBIE), with co-funding from Transpower and the Electricity Engineers’ Association. The authors are grateful to the SEE Change Institute and Paciﬁc Gas and Electric for sharing their survey instrument, which was adapted for use in New Zealand. By asking identical questions of participants in the US and New Zealand, a cross-country comparison of smart home development (forthcoming) can be made.
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