There’s a variety of upgrades which could make homes cheaper, more efficient and “smarter.”
According to research from Barclays, what homeowners really want is smart home technology that saves money, for example “smart” ways to save energy.
According to the Barclays’ new Digital Home Report, which polled 2,000 homeowners, one third are unsure of what a digital home is and 42% are confused regarding what smart home technology they should buy.
In view of the growing demand for media streaming, more homes are investing in extremely fast broadband – which majority of people now rank as more important than a big garden – and several USB ports for powering a variety of tablets and phones.
Actually, some homeowners wouldn’t mind paying up to £10,000 for practical smart home technology. About a third stated that they would probably invest in smart energy meters, and over half believe this smart home technology will become standard by 2020. Another gadget peaking homeowners’ interest is the smart thermostat, which you can control remotely with a smartphone to reduce heating in empty rooms, or switch on if you’re expected home.
Also on top of people’s wish lists are solar panels, which comes as no surprise considering UK consumers fork out £705 each year more for energy compared to a decade ago – according to the website uSwitch. Christmas lights add an extra £20 to the energy bill. Clearly consumers are keeping an eye on the energy bill and it comes as no surprise that a quarter of them think that investing in smart home technology will save money in the long run.
The second most popular smart home technology as voted by homeowners is security systems such as sophisticated cameras and motion detectors which send alerts. On the other hand, the security of the smart home technology itself – and whether hackers might attack it to gain personal information or find out when you are out – concerns many.
However, according to experts, solutions exist to fix these problems. Using a secure Wi-Fi network and making sure each device has a strong password will go a long way to safeguard networks, meanwhile alarm system will coordinate with smart home technology such as intelligent lighting to detect and hinder intruders and keep your home safe.
Global managing director of retail business development at analyst firm Context, Adam Simon, says that in order for the concept to really take root, everyone has to find the smart home simple enough to use, but secure enough at the same time to stave off hackers.
Residents in York are ready to spend the most on smart home technology – almost £1,600 – to upgrade their houses, but in Leeds they are only willing to spend £585. Other data reveals that Southampton is the UK’s most tech-smart city, and Cardiff is the least.