E Source recognizes the benefits the smart home can bring to both utilities and their customers, and since 2014 we’ve published more than a dozen reports, spoken at major industry events, and provided members with strategic recommendations about how best to approach the smart home space.

E Source says: Customers are optimistic about the potential benefits of the smart home. Tweet this!

In late 2016, we conducted the Residential Utility Customer Survey (available with certain E Source memberships) to better understand customers’ perceptions of the smart home, their awareness of technologies and brands, their likelihood to adopt, and their rationales or barriers for purchasing.

Smart home graphic showing the different features that can connect to a smart home

But in contrast to our own research and analysis, we’ve noticed a spike in reports that make recommendations based on hunches rather than data. For example, a post from Shelton Group—Security and Safety Concerns Are Holding Back Smart Technology Adoption—proposes that smart home adoption has lagged because of customers’ concerns with security, but it doesn’t cite data to support this view. In fact, our research shows that although about two-thirds of residential customers agree that smart home technology is “vulnerable to data theft,” the benefits of the smart home (such as making a home more energy efficient, more secure, and more comfortable) outweigh this concern.

We would argue that customers aren’t well-enough informed about the value of the smart home to spur adoption—especially in light of current costs; a Gartner press release, Gartner Survey Shows Connected Home Solutions Adoption Remains Limited to Early Adopters, considers this perspective. Our research reveals that customers are optimistic about the potential benefits of the smart home, including the ability to monitor and reduce their energy consumption.

Utilities shouldn’t ignore security issues, but we recommend taking advantage of smart home technology and harnessing this positive customer sentiment to encourage demand-side management programs and home energy audits, support new rate structures, improve customer experiences, and open up new channels for revenue generation.

For more research and recommendations visit our Smart Home Resource Center (available with certain E Source memberships).