smart home

No. 1 reason we buy smart devices? They promise convenience

Life is complicated. We want things that make our lives easier

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Smart locks and smart lights you control from your phone promise to make your life easier — and that's why most people buy them: to simplify their daily tasks. Nearly half of all consumers who purchase smart gadgets say it's for convenience, according to research group Parks Associates, who surveyed U.S. broadband households that also own smart devices.

Smart home companies must be celebrating. Getting these devices into people's hands — locks that you can open from an app, or speakers that can dim the lights when you ask — is not easy. Not everyone is comfortable with technology and for every person who can adeptly wire a thermostat, there's another person who finds the idea of downloading an app and connecting it to their Wi-Fi intimidating.

Telling people about something is one route, but showing them is always a better option.

That's likely why just this week we saw three brands, Amazon, homebuilder Lennar and smart home company Control4, launch showrooms and model homes to walk consumers through a smart home space: to let them try how these products work, and imagine them in their own home. The show and tell method, seeing something at a friend's house, is actually why about a quarter of people say they do buy smart home devices.

Security is also a big driver apparently for people buying connected items — the second most popular reason, said 38 percent of those surveyed — and in this category would fall security cameras, doorbells and locks. We've had these products around for a long time. Few of us can imagine walking out the door and leaving our home unlocked, and most of us have a doorbell to let us know when someone's outside.

By linking them to the internet, and putting an app on our tricked out smartphones we can now check to make sure we locked up the house when we go to work — and even answer the door while we're on vacation, and let someone think we're right inside, busy making dinner. Security options for homeowners are pretty souped up today, and we don't need professional companies to come in anymore and get us started.

Hiring outside help is also expensive — and saving money hit the third spot as to why consumers buy smart devices. Connected water products like smart sprinklers can certainly protect people from costly water bills, while smart thermostats are definitely energy reducers. Saving a little bit of money though? That wasn't as persuasive of a reason to consumers to buy a smart home device — nor was getting these items as part of a bundle.

That's likely a sign that smart devices aren't impulse buys — and that people are instead, giving real thought to how they'll improve their lives.

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