Project relevance

Previous research focused on the technical execution of smart homes, such as connecting devices and network infrastructure (Cook, 2012). This project focuses on the experience of users, which is a comparatively novel perspective. Preceding literature does exist and it generally supports the angle of this project.

Preceding literature

Seven social barriers to the adoption of smart homes could be described (Balta-Ozkan, Davidson, Bicket, & Whitmarsh, 2013). Most barriers touched on practical aspects, such as reliability of systems and ease of installation. They also described a relevant barrier as follows: “fit to current and changing lifestyles”.

In 2014, more directions for home automation research were published (Mennicken, Vermeulen, & Huang, 2014). The following is a fitting research direction: Households are socially complex and routinely involve breakdowns, improvisations, compromises and conflicts (Davidoff, Lee, Yiu, Zimmerman, & Dey, 2006). Smart homes should be able to deal with the ‘mixed messages’ created by these situations or from inhabitants with different preferences. These directions are described and their importance is mentioned, but they have not sufficiently been tackled yet.

Research in the field

In 2018, the first long-term qualitative research in adoption of smart home technologies was published (Hargreaves, Wilson, & Hauxwell-Baldwin, 2018). This research was conducted to uncover possible energy savings and to see how people learn to live with a smart home.

The research confirmed previous literature and added that smart home technologies are disruptive for domestic life. The smart home technologies even tend to undo adoption of existing products in the home.

Market growth

Forecasts of the market also contributes to the relevance of this project. The forecasts vary greatly, but all show growth.

Statista is forecasting a 25% annual growth of the worldwide market, reaching 122$ billion by 2022 ("Smart home - worldwide," 2018). Strategy Analytics is forecasting a slower growth of 10%, but their estimates start from a larger current market, which results in a 143$ billion market by 2022 ("Strategy Analytics," 2018). Alongside the financial growth of the smart home industry, there is also a visible growth in IoT connected devices. IHS is forecasting there to be 42 billion connected devices by 2022, see figure 1. This is more than double the connected devices in 2017.

Figure 1:

Forecast of devices ("Connected devices worldwide 2015 - 2025," 2018)


The preceding literature shows that other researchers see problems with the adoption of smart home technology. These problems are similar to those described in the introduction. Research in the field confirmed existence of the problems by encountering them during a long-term qualitative research. The market growth suggests that more people will encounter IoT devices and smart home products, introducing more people to the issues described. Combining these findings makes the relevance of this project evident.

Next chapter: Understanding the smart home ecosystem