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Are today's smart homes as smart as they can be? A recent report says no

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Despite the seeming ubiquity of smart home assistants, smart home appliances, and even smart home security solutions, the widespread availability of these devices doesn’t always translate into widespread smart homes. Per a report from Insurance Quotes, only 16.3 percent of homes in the U.S. are projected to fall under the “smart” category by the end of 2017 — that is to say, only 16.3 percent of American homes will feature more than one internet-connected device capable of controlling household functions through a hub or app. But as the thought of a talking dishwasher or a set of smart lights begins to seem more familiar rather than far-fetched, this number may increase. After all, as we barrel toward the future, our homes are going to have to keep up.

Already, there seem to be signs of increased acceptance of smart home devices. In 2016, nearly half of renovating homeowners decided to install smart systems or devices, the most popular of which were smart security systems. Twelve percent of homeowners have turned to smart home devices to control their lights, locks, and video cameras; also popular are smart entertainment systems like Roku and smart climate control systems like Nest.

Curiously enough, Insurance Quotes’ data suggests that Generation X folks are actually twice as likely as millennials to purchase smart home tech (specifically, smart security tech). So what’s holding folks back? Ironically, 17 percent of Americans seem to be most concerned about their smart home devices being unsecured. About seven percent cite lack of need as the reason to bet against smart home tech, while six percent say that these connected devices are just too complicated. But the single most prohibitive factor appears to be cost, with 42 percent of folks saying that having a smart home is just too expensive an endeavor. And with smart refrigerators costing somewhere in the $5,000 range, we can’t say we blame them.

That said, it would appear that Americans are eager for smarter homes in the future (provided their prices come down). Seventy-six percent say they would like a smart mattress with a sleep tracker (which does, by the way, already exist), whereas 64 percent would like smart toothbrushes and smart cooking pans. In any case, it certainly seems that connectivity is the way of the future, and our homes are going to have to keep up with the trends.

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Lulu Chang
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