How tech is driving a smarter way of life

To reap the benefits of smart technology, the tech industry must win the trust of consumers who fear their privacy and data may be compromised 

Julian David, chief executive, techUK 

Be in no doubt, we are in the midst of a digital revolution. This revolution is driven by incredible advances in cloud, big data analytics, connectivity and computing power. On the latter alone, we now carry more processing power in our pockets than a room-sized super computer from the 1980s.

Most aspects of consumers’ lives are touched by smart technology. It has given them unparalleled choice and control over their experiences in the home. The increased accessibility to intelligent devices comes along with transforming our personal healthcare management, control over our energy usage and taking the pain out of our commute. However, only by marrying technological advances and building confidence in smart technology’s potential will we truly unlock the incredible possibilities.

Adding value

Connected living is increasingly going to become the norm in many households throughout 2017. Two areas where it will deliver real value to the homeowner will be through peace of mind and smarter energy management.

Connected technology gives us the ability to understand what is happening within our home wherever we are. Intelligent home security solutions are already ranked as valuable to consumers, but it goes beyond purely the safekeeping of your home[1]. The data produced by the underlying technology – be that cameras or motion sensors – can be easily adapted to help you also have greater visibility over what else is happening in the property. This can take the form of letting you know when your children get back from school or that your elderly relatives are happily moving around the house.

Peace of mind extends to energy too. The full rollout of smart meters will soon be underway. This will mean an end to estimated bills, a boost in flexibility for prepay customers and a step-change[2] in the control consumers can exert over usage. For example, almost 80 per cent of smart meter users have taken at least one step to reduce energy consumption. It will also help precipitate energy management innovation, from smart heating thermostats to intuitive home lighting.

Smart concerns

Smart solutions have been available for some time but, as we enter 2017, we are seeing greater uptake[3] thanks to ease of use and easier installation. These advances address justified worries about compatibility and up-front costs.

Another concern is security. As we push smart technology further into our everyday lives, there is a responsibility on the industry to ensure we create a culture of trust with consumers. This means businesses must be up front in how they are using data and ensure it is kept secure. That is why techUK is working with industry to create a set of trust principles.

The connected home offers us unparalleled insight and control over our daily lives. As we adopt more smart technologies and create more data, the industry has an opportunity to deepen its understanding of consumer behaviours and open up new revenue streams, leading to more innovation, personalisation and new services. However, it is only through a culture of trust with consumers that we will all see the full benefits of connected living.

1 and 3. Smart Home Market by Product, Software and Service, and Geography: Global Forecast to 2022, May 2016

 2. Smart Energy Outlook, Smart Energy GB, August 2016

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