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What to Call Home Automation: CEA Survey Says ‘Home Monitoring’

'Smart home' used to be the term that most resonated with consumers, but new CEA research suggests 'home monitoring' is the best term to describe home automation.


How the heck should you describe your home automation business?
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We have a strange industry that’s hard to describe. My elevator pitch is this: I am a magazine editor. I write about smart home technology, like home theaters, lighting controls, security and home automation.

I might rethink this pitch, though. About seven years ago, the Consumer Electronics Association surveyed consumers about this thing that we know as home systems integration, asking them what term best described this concept.

The answer was “smart home.” That is the term that most resonated with consumers.

I advised dealers to use that term as a result of the survey, and I began using it myself.

Fast forward to now, and the latest CEA research suggests that “home monitoring” is the term that makes sense to consumers.

Of the respondents who were already familiar with the concept of home systems, 75% thought “home monitoring” described it well, compared to 62% for smart home, 55% for home automation and 53% for connected home.

Home monitoring won by an even larger margin among respondents who were not already familiar with the concept of the integrated home. “Home monitoring” resonated with 52% of these respondents, compared to 32% for “smart home.”

We might have an industry term to describe our trade – like electronic systems contractor (ESC) or home technology integrator (my preferred term) – but let’s consider terms that are most readily understood by consumers.

If you’re keeping score
, here’s what some of the big brands call their home integration offerings:

ADT Pulse
Xfinity Home (changed from Comcast/Xfinity Home Security; tagline: Your total home security and home control solution)
Vivint (no brand for offering but calls it “comprehensive security and home automation”)
Time Warner Cable IntelligentHome
Verizon Home Monitoring & Control
AT&T Digital Life
Honeywell Total Connect
URC Total Control
Cox Home Security

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Source: Consumer Electronics Association: Consumer Perspective on Home Automation

RELATED RESEARCH
: CEA: 67% of Consumers Want Professional Home Automation Installation



  About the Author

Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Email Julie at [email protected]

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