Smart Home Week Forum 2019

Our Director of Trading, Mark Coffey, recently attended the Smart Home Week Forum. The event, which took place on Thursday 9th May, included a round table discussion with the Smart Home Week panel, comprised of experts from across the industry.

Here, we discuss Mark’s key findings about smart technology, how to simplify it, its future in UK homes, and the impact it could potentially have on Home Insurance

Market predictions for smart technology: What does the future hold?

57% of British homes now have at least one smart device, such as a smart TV, music system, or heating system.

The role of smart TVs in the home was contested by the panel – the overall consensus was that they’re only really ‘smart’ if they can connect and ‘speak’ to your other smart devices.

This concern is echoed by consumers, who are also concerned about how different systems work together. Would the answer be a single system that unifies all, and would this be possible when you consider the commercial impact? How would it be standardised?

The panel conceded that integration will be the next big phase in smart technology, but they feel that further education is needed to explain the long-term benefits to consumers.

Will smart technology bring down the cost of insurance premiums?

40%of Brits think that the cost of their Home Insurance should be reduced if they’ve invested in smart security. However, there was discussion from the panel around whether it’s too early to say if smart security technology actually reduces crime, which in turn could reduce the cost of insurance premiums. 

Mark advised that discounts on Home Insurance premiums could possibly be offered in a few years’ time, once the insurance industry has worked out whether doing so would impact claims – until then, discounts can’t be offered, however it’s worth noting that healthcare is an example of an industry where smart technology has reduced premiums, through the use of wearable tech.

Opportunities in the smart technology market: What do consumers want?

In the next year, 45% of Brits plan to make their homes even smarter, with 56% citing convenience as the driving factor when purchasing smart technology products.

The panel agreed that while it’s clear that consumers desire products that will improve their day-to-day life, such as self-cleaning toilets and bins that can empty themselves, there’s much more the industry can do to inform and educate people.

There was also discussion around environmental issues: Smart technology brands need to have integrity and be able to support customers in the long-term.

How are consumer habits changing?

With an ageing population in Britain, would smart technology benefit those aged 55+ the most?

The panel discussed the idea that smart technology in the home could help people live on their own for longer, and it was agreed that simplicity and utility need to sit alongside one another.

As it is, 51% of people aged 55+ have smart technology in their home, compared to 63% of 25-34 year olds. Again, there is still some work to be done in educating consumers about the benefits of smart technology, specifically around whether or not it could help older people save time, and potentially money.

Statistics taken from Smart Home Week 2019