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Tech Chats: Smart home tech with EY’s Adrian Baschnonga

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In this video interview, we chat with Adrian Baschnonga from EY about the rise of smart home tech. We discuss public perceptions of smart home tech, what’s preventing mass adoption and which devices are proving most popular. Baschnonga also talks about the players that are innovating in the space, from startups to telecoms and tech giants.

Q: At the end of last year EY produced a report smart home tech, can you tell us a bit more about that?

We surveyed 2,500 UK households really exploring their attitudes to content connectivity services and as part of that we explored their attitudes to the digital home so looking at take up of technology in the home.

Tech Chats: EY’s Daniel Lyons on how tech is revolutionising transport

Overall the results are pretty positive, so we found that 34% of households are very interested in the latest technology and gadgets and want them before everybody else and that’s actually up five percentage points on a similar survey we conducted in 2013. But when we drill down into connected home devices, we found that across eight different categories of connected home tech, only 19% of households on average were willing to use or purchase these items over the next five years.

Q: So what are the main barriers that are preventing people from adopting this kind of technology?

Well ultimately right now, it’s low levels of awareness and the sort of practical real-world benefits of these technologies are lost on a lot of people. You’ve also got the fact that they’re available at very high price points – that could be putting some people off. And you’ve also got interoperability issues – a lot of people are being pushed ecosystems whereas maybe they just want one or two key devices that can solve real world problems.

Q: So of the devices that people are purchasing, what’s proving most popular?

Right now we’re seeing strongest traction for things like smart heating and smart lighting services, smart security as well. And these really reflect the fact that they’re answering a real world need – if you look at energy monitoring, for example, that’s something that’s certainly pronounced in the minds of consumers and you look at home security and that’s a fundamental human need. But other categories like smart fridges, smart ovens – they’re not really resonating as yet, in fact only 10% of households see themselves adopting these kinds of services over the next five years. And that;s because perhaps these services are a little bit too complex, they’re offering too many features and, again, the price points are pretty high.

Q: There are a lot of companies innovating in this sector, but there don’t appear to be any particular market leaders at the moment. Do you think that that’s going to continue?

Yeah what’s very interesting at the moment, because you’ve actually got more and more players entering the smart home space and that probably works against the emergence of clear leaders right now. But ultimately over time it’s very interesting because we may see more partnerships – you’ve got a lot of different types of company involved in this space.

You’ve got telecoms companies, utility companies and also tech giants that are leading with their smart assistance services. So over time a lot of the players are going to be thinking where do they need to sit in the value chain. So we could see things shake out over the medium term.

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