Smart Home Adoption : Diffusion Prospects of the Smart Home and Voice as a Mean of Control in Sweden

University essay from KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM); KTH/Skolan för industriell teknik och management (ITM)

Abstract: Smart home technology develops at a rapid pace and the smart home of today is only a fraction of what the smart home has the potential to become. The ambition of the smart home is to make the everyday life easier for its residents by increasing comfort, safety, and efficiency. As speech recognition accuracy has increased, voice has become an increasingly popular mean of control within the smart home. Both speech recognition and smart home technology have been listed as important emerging technologies for several years with high expected market growth. However, the adoption is slow and one might wonder whether the technologies are failing to diffuse. Though there is an arena for the technologies to work, and benefits to be utilized, the majority of the Swedish population has not adopted the technologies yet. Why is that? This thesis aimed to determine the diffusion prospects of the smart home controlled by voice by investigating; the current consumer adoption rate of the smart home and the smart home controlled by voice; the consumers’ perceptions of smart home technology and voice as a mean of control; and what adoption barriers might hinder the diffusion. To examine this, a literature review of previously identified adoption barriers was conducted, followed by interviews with both technology experts and consumers with different levels of smart home experience. Based on these, initial hypotheses were extracted on consumer perceptions and adoption barriers of smart home technology. These initial hypotheses were subsequently tested by conducting a survey aimed at Swedish families with dependent children. The survey found the adoption of the smart home to have reached half of the Swedish families with dependent children, while the smart home controlled by voice only has been adopted by one-fifth of the families. The smart home technology was found to have good prospects of continuing the diffusion. However, the perceptions of smart home technology vary between consumer groups, where some groups have more difficulties perceiving a purpose with the technology. Voice was further determined unlikely to be the only mean of control of the future smart home, as voice is not found suitable in all situations. This thesis also identified several adoption barriers and problem areas that might hinder the future adoption of smart home technology. Solving these adoption barriers and problems are crucial to increase the diffusion prospects of the smart home.

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