An Australian study is set to examine how smart home technology alters the way we live, with four households currently being transformed into smart connected homes and used as ‘natural labs’.

The study is being conducted by media agency Starcom in a bid to better identify changing consumer behaviour resulting from a more connected lifestyle, but along the way it should provide some fascinating insight into the impacts of smart home living.

The smart home study

On April 12, Starcom announced it would be partnering with Visa and Seven west as part of a research project to reveal how smart technology will change consumer behaviour and the commercial opportunity it will uncover for brands

Entitled ‘The Future of Connected Living’, the project will see Starcom take over four Australian households and transform them into smart connected homes, which will be studied over 12 months.

Announcing the initiative, Starcom CEO Toby Barbour told Mumbrella: “We’re experiencing a fundamental shift in connectivity, with consumers embracing voice technology at a rapid pace. When it comes to the use of voice technology in homes, we’re already seeing significant changes in human behaviour with the arrival of smart speakers and voice assistants in over one million Australian households.

“But so far businesses have largely focused on the technology, which only tells part of the story. To fully realise the opportunity, our thinking needs to be human centred.

“As the Human Experience Company, we believe the best way to understand people is to observe and engage with them in real-life situations. So we’ve created four fully-connected smart homes, and in conjunction with our brand partners, we’ll be studying technology through the experience of real people.”

The complexity of Australian family life

The four households are all based in the greater Sydney area and have been chosen to reflect the complexity of Australian family life.

As part of the initial stage of the project, these ‘natural labs’ will be observed over a four-week period between March and April, with observations recorded via a mix of filmed video diaries by the households, filmed observation, and show-and-tell interviews.

“We will bring to life what the future of family living will look like and provide an ongoing ethnographic study of human, lived experiences,” Starcom’s Graeme Wood told Mumbrella.

“Research outcomes will include gaining a deeper understanding of how and why consumer behaviour is changed by the experience of living in a smart home; and provide practical knowledge relevant to brand experience, product, service, content and commercial development.

“With forecasts that 43 per cent of Australian homes will be smart-technology enabled by 2023, and UK/US voice commerce expected to grow from $2bn to $40bn by 2022, the opportunities for brands are enormous.”

Smart living gaining increasing attention

‘The Future of Connected Living’ is touted as the first study of its type in Australia to examine consumer behaviour resulting from smart home connectivity, but it’s not the only one delving into the impacts of smart home living.

In 2015, RMIT also commenced a three-year study that looked to take a deep dive into the impacts of home automation.

The RMIT project is investigating how automated technologies are being incorporated into household practices, and the expectations they promote, sustain and transform.

Study authors note it “will produce important new knowledge about how to study and understand the effects of ambient and automated technologies in everyday life and their potential impact on energy consumption”.

The objectives of the project will see researchers:

  • Observe and analyse how automated technologies are being incorporated into Australian household social practices, and how these practices change over time;
  • Deploy innovative ethnographic and interdisciplinary methods to identify unintended or unexpected consequences of householder interactions with automated technologies and their likely energy effects;
  • Analyse alignments and misalignments between expectations assumed or promoted by policy makers, energy providers and automation manufacturers and the actual lived experiences of Australian householders in smart homes or using automated technologies;
  • Contribute to theoretical and methodological debates about conceptualising the role of automation technologies in everyday life, and their implications for understandings of changing energy demand.

Home automation a growing trend

Statista recently noted roughly a quarter (24.9 per cent) of Australian households feature some sort of smart home technology and that’s expected to increase to 41.9 per cent by 2023.

In real life figures, that means 2.3 million Australian homes have smart home technology, with the average revenue per installed household now at US$169.08.

The Australian smart home industry is currently valued at US$1.278 billion down under, but is tipped to increase to US$2.44 billion by 2023.

Statista further tips the sector likely to experience the greatest growth in Australia over the next five years is smart home control and connectivity.

Currently this sub-category of smart home technology is valued at US$136.7 million in Australia, but is expected to more than quadruple to $582.4 million by 2023.

Meanwhile, other sectors are predicted to grow at the following rate:

  • Smart appliances will increase from a revenue value of US$167.7 million to US$594.8 million in 2023
  • Security will grow from a revenue value of US$119.1 million in 2019 to US$450.5 million in 2023
  • Home entertainment will increase from a revenue value of US$161.8 million in 2019 to US$314.4 million in 2023
  • Comfort and lighting will grow from a revenue value of US$59.9 million in 2019 to US$257.2 million in 2023
  • Energy management will increase from a revenue value of US$62.1 million this year to US$244.4 million in 2023

About Lera Smart Home Solutions

Lera Smart Home Solutions is a leading installer of smart home technology in the greater Sydney region. Our team boasts over 20 years’ experience in IT networking, programming and the electrical industry.

We have sourced the most reliable and cost efficient solutions from around the world to provide the very best in smart home solutions, and work with our clients to understand their needs.

You can learn more about transforming your house into a smart home here, access our smart home calculators here or contact us directly for further advice.