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Report: Youth being served by smart energy products

Wed, 07/16/2014 - 12:57pm
Mike Robuck

According to a recent report, young consumers are more readily embracing the Internet of Things through smart home devices.

Parks Associates’ Internet of Things (IoT) research found that young consumers, those with children, and those in a home for three to four years were leading the adoption of Internet-connected energy devices.

The research found that 10 percent of the broadband households across the nation headed by a consumer aged 25-34 owned at least one smart home energy management device, compared to 7 percent of all U.S. broadband households. Further, 9 percent of households with children and over 10 percent of households who have been in their home 3-4 years owned a smart energy management device.

"Younger consumers also own multiple devices at higher rates – 4 percent own five or more smart energy management devices, and they are the majority of those most willing to purchase a smart home system," said Tom Kerber, director, research, home controls and energy, Parks Associates. "The market segment of consumers 25-34 years old is a key target for new smart home solutions that consolidate control of multiple devices through a smartphone or tablet."

The report said that the entry of major service providers, such as ADT, AT&T and Comcast, was increasing consumer awareness and the adoption rates of smart home products and services. While ADT has been a player in the home security game for sometime, Comcast, AT&T, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks and Cox Communications are leveraging their existing customer relationships and broadband services to gain entry into the home automation and security sector.

Parks said that product lines from major retailers such as Staples, which recently announced its new Staples Connect solution, and Lowe's, with its Iris brand of products, would increase competition in this space as they introduce home energy products to their large base of consumers.

Last month Apple announced it would be joining the smart home sector when it releases HomeKit this fall.  Home automation is the precursor, or building block, to the Internet of Things, which will connect various IP devices, services and systems within a home. Apple’s HomeKit will help push the Internet of Things ball forward.

"Seven percent of U.S. broadband households plan to purchase a smart thermostat over the next 12 months, but our findings show consumers clearly prefer smart home systems with extended capabilities that integrate multiple devices," Kerber said. "Stand-alone products are getting the early attention in this emerging market, but the successful solutions long-term will be able to work together as part of a smart home system."

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