The idea of a ‘smart home’ has long captured our imaginations. Disney delighted people with a futuristic wonder home in the 1950s and Microsoft made some eerily spot-on predictions in 1999. Now technological advancement is bringing the stuff of science fiction closer to reality. YouGov research predicts that 23% of British people own one or more smart home devices already. While the number is lower in Ireland, new research from iReach shows that 35% of Irish people say they are likely to implement smart technology in their home in the future, with those aged 18-34 especially likely (41%).
The gateway for most people is a smart speaker such as Amazon Alexa or Google Home. IDC research predicts that by 2023, there will be more Irish households with smart speakers than those without. With the era of the smart home upon us, there are innovations for every room of the house, from smart TVs to smart toilets. These developments in smart home technology speak to two primary motivations: freedom and control.
Our desire to be liberated from the mundane obligations of domestic life has brought us increased automation. Smart blinds can be programmed to wake us with morning light, while robotic vacuum cleaners can now empty themselves. The LG Styler can reduce the number of trips to the dry cleaners or time spent ironing, while the John Deere Tango ensures you never have to spend a weekend mowing the lawn again. Many devices are also designed to free up the mental load of keeping a house whether that is tracking family calendars or making grocery lists. The Whirlpool Smart Oven removes dinnertime stress by detecting whatever food type you put inside and automatically cooking it to perfection.
The smart home security global market is set to exceed $4 billion by 2022 as more people opt to take safety into their own hands. While Ring, a video doorbell system acquired by Amazon in 2018 for $1 billion, is arguably the most mainstream brand, there has been a surge of new developments in smart locks, security cameras and baby monitors from a host of brands. Smart thermostats, such as Nest, learn your household’s behaviour to make energy use more economical, while many smart lightbulbs allow users to set custom settings to suit their mood.
Is your brand prepared to integrate into a reality when shopping is ordered from a smart fridge or where cosmetics are applied in front of a smart mirror? Your consumer’s home is the launchpad for their life, and the backdrop where many use your product. As more people take steps to make their homes smarter, it serves as an important reminder for brands to evaluate their place in the future of home.