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Smart home consumers: Comparing self-reported and observed attitudes

  • Author(s): Sanguinetti, Angela;
  • Karlin, Beth;
  • Ford, Rebecca
  • et al.
Abstract

The burgeoning landscape of smart home technology brings opportunities for home energy management (HEM) through energy efficiency, behavior change, and demand response channels. However, smart home adoption is lagging behind market projections. Research concerning consumer perceptions of benefits and barriers to smart home technology has tended to rely on stated rather than revealed attitudes (i.e., what consumers say rather than what they do), which could be inhibiting a fuller understanding of smart home adoption. As part of a comprehensive investigation of the HEM space, we conducted mixed method consumer research, involving survey, interview, and observational methods, to explore both stated and revealed attitudes regarding smart home benefits and barriers. Specifically, we surveyed utility customers and interviewed and observed retail customers while they toured smart home demonstrations. Stated attitudes were assessed via descriptive analysis of survey data and qualitative analysis of direct responses to interview questions. Revealed attitudes were assessed via inferential analysis of survey data comparing HEM product owners to non-owners and qualitative analysis of retail customer observations. Results regarding revealed attitudes suggested that benefits pertaining to nurturing and protecting one’s household have driven adoption in this space and product cost and lack of knowledge (e.g., complexities of smart home technologies) presented the most significant barriers to smart home adoption. Differences and complementarities between stated and revealed attitudes are discussed. 

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