Smart home: UL Solutions-BVA Doxa survey

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UL Solutions presented the results of the research “Smart home and smart personal devices: the point of view of the Italian consumers”, carried out in Italy in collaboration with BVA Doxa. The adoption of consumer products, with smart functionalities, connected to the Internet is growing: 8 out of 10 Italians (77%) are inclined to purchase a smart home device within the next two years, while 2 out of 3 (67%) declare to be interested in buying at least one personal smart object in the same time frame. Among the criteria for choosing smart products, the interviewees indicated as “very important”: a clear communication on possible risks to privacy or health (48%); a device management app with excellent reviews (45%); product certification by an independent body (43%). The survey highlights the main factors hindering adoption, including fears related to security and health risks. About 30% of the interviewees express at least a fear related to the safety & security of smart objects.
The survey examines four categories of products for the smart home (home management and entertainment, appliances, safety & security and energy efficiency) and four categories in the field of smart personal devices (wearable items for fitness, products for health monitoring in real time, child monitoring systems and devices for the assistance and control of frail people). In particular, according to the results of the research, in the last two years the purchases of smart home devices have mainly concerned (60%) home management and entertainment. Appliances and smart safety devices each represent a 39% share of the purchases declared by the interviewees; the energy efficiency devices follow with 34%. The main purchase reasons cited by those who bought one or more smart home devices mainly concern convenience, the ability to manage devices and appliances remotely via app and the ability to make their home safer. But the propensity for the future purchases sees the devices for controlling consumption and for energy saving at the top of the ranking of smart home devices. According to the UL Solutions survey, in the first place among the smart home products to be purchased in the next two years are: thermostats, air conditioners, control systems of the temperature and electricity consumption, sockets and light bulbs. Most users (60%) are satisfied with the apps that manage smart devices, but the remaining 40% believe there is room for improvement in terms of quality and functionality.
The survey clearly shows the concerns of users and potential customers in terms of quality of the devices and risks to privacy and health. The research by UL Solutions-BVA Doxa identifies some possible areas of intervention:
• include independent certification tests in the product design cycle (hardware and software), both in relation to IT security and to ensure that the devices are harmless or not dangerous;
• underline the value of qualified certification in all communication around the product and the brand;
• ensure the continuous updating of the control and management app, in terms of security but also functionality and usability by listening to the users;
• frequently update the software installed on the product during the entire life cycle;
• provide a “friendly” customer service that, in addition to intervening in the event of a breakdown, can help the user to install and configure the device correctly;
• design products that are even more efficient than the legal requirements;
• train the users in the use of devices by publishing manuals, tutorials, best practices;
• raise the consumers awareness on privacy and IT security issues by promoting physical, online and social events.