Smart home assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa and Google Home Assistant are now widely used in homes across the UK. Coupled with the explosion in smart home devices – ranging from smart door bells to internet connected fridges – many home owners and renters are now envisaging a time where their smart devices won’t clutter their shelves and tables but will instead be embedded within the design of their homes.
This ‘smart home’ aspiration was highlighted in a recent survey conducted by Eurocell plc. where more than half (53%) of respondents said they were interested in having technology-enabled products in the build of their home. A further 24% said they plan to invest in smart technology in their existing property in the near future, while 18% identified integrated technology as one of their top three design trends.
As consumers’ appetite for technology grows, it is likely that the desire amongst home owners or occupiers to see the homes of the future designed with technology in-built, will only get stronger. However, while consumer demand for a smart or internet connected home, is strong, the viability of such homes being constructed is less evident. When the survey responses were analysed by a panel of experts, concerns were raised around the practicalities of the construction sector responding to these consumer aspirations for a home with smart technology embedded within the design.
Architects at leading studios Hawkins Brown, SimpsonHaugh and BDP, as well as property developer The High Street Group, analysed the findings, with the panel being in agreement that, while smart homes will certainly continue to develop, making it an embedded design feature would not be the best use of budget. With technology evolving so quickly the panel highlighted that embedding technology in a home would likely mean that the systems embedded in the house would quickly become ‘dated’ compared to the latest smart tech advancements.
Assessing the consumer feedback Francesca Roberts, Hawkins Brown, commented:“Technology is changing so quickly, to the point that it’s hard to predict what the smart home will look like in 20 years’ time. So much technology these days is wireless anyway, so it doesn’t necessarily need embedding.” James Roberts, SimpsonHaugh, added: “Money is better invested in quality architectural design than on embedding fast changing technology.”
In addition to these concerns the survey found that, while many consumers expressed an interest in a smart home, few were willing to pay more for it as a design feature. Indeed only 20% of those who expressed a desire for a smart home were willing to pay more for a home that met this criteria.
As such, it is safe to conclude that whilst technology is desirable for home owners and consumers, the construction sector should carefully evaluate any future plans to respond to that demand.
You can see all of Eurocell’s findings from the survey in the Future Home Report which can be downloaded in full here https://www.eurocell.co.uk/whitepaper