gfu 2019 Study: Network Devices and Smart Homes

What devices are used now and will be in the future? Approval and skepticism surrounding smart home applications.

One of the focus points of the gfu 2019 Study* was networked devices and smart homes. It was found that around a third of those surveyed already use various smart home devices or would like to use them in the future. However, almost two thirds of respondents are skeptical about the technology.

In response to the question “What devices are you already using or would like to use in the future?” 34% responded house alarms; 30% said camera surveillance images; 26% wanted to control their blinds, a garage door and/or lights; and 24% said they wanted to control heating or air conditioning appliances.

The gfu 2019 Study revealed contradictory results when respondents were asked about the benefits or possible dangers: 79% said that the fact that increasingly more devices are networked with each other means they feel more comfortable. For 37%, networked devices help to increase safety in the home. 36% said that networked devices help them to save energy.

However, fears that personal data will be automatically forwarded via these networked devices to companies, organizations or institutions with which the respondents don’t wish to share their data were expressed by 69% of those surveyed. 68% fear that strangers from outside could take control of devices inside their networked home. Being unable to switch their network off and relax is a concern for 42%. And the increasing use of networked devices is causing 38% of respondents to feel overwhelmed at times by the complex technology.

Hans-Joachim Kamp, chairman of the gfu supervisory board, comments: “The gfu 2019 Study shows the extent to which networked devices have found their way into households. But it also shows just how important data protection and security are to consumers. Particularly in light of the skepticism displayed, which was quite strong in some cases, it is important for industry and retailers alike to inform customers and dispel their concerns.”

* Representative online survey in May 2019 by Value_A Marketing Intelligence on behalf of gfu.