New Scripps Networks Study Reveals Smart Living Starts with the Smart Kitchen

By Mary Ellen Holden Scripps Networks Interactive Archives

The conversation at CES centered on connectivity.  It was widely accepted that in the "not so distant future" we will be connected to multiple devices, gadgets and home goods 24/7.  Is connectivity by choice or is it simply inevitable?  Even now connected devices are drilling down into people's homes and minds -- some, like IBM's Watson, can sense how people feel in real time.  Increasingly, devices want to understand people and "help them to live better."  The rationale is that as long as products are not cumbersome and are as good (if not better) than the existing goods, they will organically become a vital part of our lives. 

What intrigued me is that the goals of consumers and product manufacturers appear to align when it comes to smart living.  Consumers view technology as a tool to improve their quality of life while technology partners are looking to help us live better. As Carley Knobloch, Technical Consultant, HGTV Smart Home noted, "Consumers are voting again and again for devices that offer peace of mind and anticipate their needs. A smart lock that texts you when your kids get home from school, so you know they're safe.  A camera that alerts you when it sees unfamiliar faces in your home, but recognizes your wife and cat as persona grata. These are both examples of connected devices that are tapping into deep consumer needs by making good use of the data they're collecting.

"In other words, thoughtful is the new smart."

A new study from Scripps Networks Interactive unveiled at CES 2017 and at Design and Construction week 2017 supports this premise.  The research utilized Scripps Under One Roof* consumer panel, in partnership with the Consumer Technology Association, the National Kitchen and Bath Association, the National Association of Home Builders, CEDIA and Shelly Palmer Strategic Advisors. The findings are perfectly timed as new home improvement projects typically commence in the spring.

  • Millennials want to make their home "convenient for daily tasks;" Generation Xers want to make their home "a healthy environment;" and Baby Boomers wish to "add value" to their home.
  • Three-quarters of respondents attributed their purchase motivation to the desire to keep their family safe and comfortable, while only 18 percent attributed it to the desire to meet others' expectations.
  • Nearly 68 percent of respondents cited energy efficiency as a driving factor enticing them to add technology, to see a tangible pay-off in dollars saved, to add resale value to their home and to comply with social pressure to be Earth friendly.

Millennials, followed closely by Gen Xers, are the most likely to add smart home technology to their home.

  • 85 percent of Millennials indicated they are likely to add smart home technology to their home, more than half within the next year.
  • 73 percent of Gen Xers are likely to add smart home technology, 38 percent within the next year.
  • 67 percent of Boomers are likely to add smart home technology, 28 percent within the next year.

The kitchen is the No. 1 spot in the home to add technology.

  • A quarter of all homeowners surveyed named the kitchen as the top spot in the home to add smart tech. Respondents listed top options as smart refrigerators, connected and app-enabled appliances, voice-activated wireless speakers and motion sensor lighting.
  • Gen Xers led this kitchen-friendly group at 28 percent, while 27 percent of Millennials and 23 percent of Boomers listed the kitchen as their top priority.

According to the study, more than half of the respondents considering smart home technology sought out a professional to help them sift through the choices and make the right decisions regarding products to purchase, installation and product safety. Given the speed in which the smart home market is exploding, I can't help but wonder when there will be a device instead of a smart home professional to assist us in sorting through these same choices. 

*Under One Roof is an Internet-based community hosted by Scripps Networks Interactive that includes approximately 20,000 U.S. residents ages 18-64. The community is comprised of a national sample of consumers who are "lifestyle enthusiasts," recruited based on their interest in the home, food and travel categories. The community is not intended to be representative of the U.S. general population.

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