THE DOWNLOAD ON DIGITAL DWELLINGS
North Olmsted, Ohio... There's no arguing that we're living in a digital age. And while the home isn't like the Jetson's...yet -- today's consumers are more plugged in than ever, and looking for new, innovative ways to incorporate technology into the home and beyond. Moen®, the number one faucet brand in North America, investigated how consumers interact with the "smart" items in their home today and sought out where they'd like to see technology integrated into their dwellings in the future.*
All of the respondents to Moen's queries were self-described as at least a "tiny bit techy," and their technology savviness is broken down as follows:
- 31 percent are "totally teched out"
- 41 percent are "trying out tech"
- 28 percent are a "tiny bit tech"
Plug In and Power Up -- Where Homeowners Connect
It's hard to believe there was once a time where computers were reserved only for office buildings. Today, 77 percent of people own a laptop computer, and Moen found that half of consumers use their computers in the family room, a third use tablets in the living room and more than half say they keep their smartphones nearby when watching television.
"With easy access and the increased availability of smart devices, consumers are able to transform their homes into personal data epicenters, with instant access to news and up-to-the-minute information from family and friends," said Jack Suvak, senior director of consumer and marketing insights, Moen. "Our research found consumers own about seven personal digital devices, proving there is a definite demand for not just these devices, but the seamless integration of technology into the user's everyday life. In fact, 57 percent own one or more home-based smart devices like thermostats, security systems and televisions."
Turning on the Home
Even though homeowners are acutely aware of the reality of the connected home, 72 percent of those Moen surveyed are hesitant to incorporate technology into it. "Consumers want manufacturers of connected products to work out the kinks in their systems prior to integrating technologies into their everyday lives," explained Suvak.
"As digital devices become more pervasive in the home, consumers seek out technology that delivers meaningful and relevant benefits and integrates seamlessly with their interior design."
So, how are consumers finding the right balance between total automation and tech-free? By selectively integrating connected devices in key spaces; like the kitchen, which is the number one area of the home consumers would like to be digitally connected. Adding a hands-free kitchen faucet and remote control lighting were among the top conveniences consumers would add to upgrade their space. Many brands have recognized the need for smart or technologically savvy designs in the kitchen. Here are just a few innovations that address homeowners' ever-growing need to seamlessly incorporate technology:
- Moen MotionSense™ Hands-Free Faucets: Moen's MotionSense technology was developed using the insights of how consumers move in the kitchen. These touchless faucets can be controlled by the wave of a hand, and the intuitive design makes tasks in and around the kitchen sink easier and more efficient.
- LIFX®: These Wi-Fi enabled, multi-color, energy efficient LED light bulbs are easily installed and can be controlled via a smartphone application. While the price tag may be high -- starting at $79 for a single bulb -- LIFX light bulbs are rated to last up to 40,000 hours or up to 23 years.
- Whirlpool® 6th Sense Live™ Technology: Products with Whirlpool's 6th Sense Live allow consumers to access kitchen appliances remotely from a smartphone. Homeowners can manage the refrigerator temperature, lock the dishwasher control console and see when the washer cycle is complete, all from a connected application on a smart device.
- DuPont™ Corian® Surfaces: These intuitive surfaces from DuPont are manufactured with built-in PMA wireless charging technology. Simply place your phone on the kitchen counter to charge without having to worry about bulky wires or inconveniently placed outlets.
- Belkin Crock-Pot® WeMo® Smart Slow Cooker: Even the most beloved appliances, like the Crock-Pot, are becoming connected thanks to WeMo technology. This wireless technology allows the user to access a Crock-Pot's settings on the go. Cook time, temperature and other settings can be adjusted from a smartphone app.
Is There Such Thing as "Too Connected"?
Being constantly "logged on" does have its drawbacks. More than three in 10 consumers Moen surveyed found being tethered to a smart device made them feel anxious and tired. On a positive note, using digital devices makes many people feel smart, organized and efficient.
"It's possible that as connected home devices improve, and become almost second nature, there is a greater likelihood negative opinions could move toward more positive feelings," Suvak explained. "Maintaining a constantly 'turned on' mentality can be stressful, but as brands improve applications, and the technology behind connected home products becomes more intuitive and integrated, we may see a shift in how homeowners perceive and interact with these products in the future."
For more information about Moen, visit moen.com or call 1-800-BUY-MOEN.
*Moen conducted 526 geographically dispersed interviews with homeowners between the ages of 25 and 65 who identify themselves as at least a tiny bit techy.