Smart Home in Private Households: Status Quo, Discussion, and New Insights

Smart Home in Private Households: Status Quo, Discussion, and New Insights

Oliver Werth (Leibniz Universtät Hannover, Germany), Nadine Guhr (Technische Hochschule Ostwestfalen-Lippe, Germany) and Michael H. Breitner (Leibniz Universität Hannover, Germany)
DOI: 10.4018/IJSSMET.2020100108
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Abstract

The growing digital transformation creates new ways of living. In recent years, intelligent smart homes (SHs) have increased rapidly. The article gives a status quo overview of the SH literature with regard to the interactions between SHs and their end-users and structures the literature into three categories (SH systems, SH application areas, and SH end-users) and 15 corresponding concepts. The analysis implies that SH is a broad and relevant research topic with different subjects, research gaps, and emerging benefits but also with challenges for all the players in the SH market. SH success depends on many critical success factors (CSF), such as acceptance of usability or interface design. Implications for research and practice to meet these challenges are presented. Several future research directions are suggested.
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Introduction And Motivation

Today, we live in a world characterized by increasing digital transformation and a growing interest in smart home (SH) technologies. Almost every part of our lives has become digital or even smart through smartphones, smart watches, smart televisions and SHs. The home is the place, were people spend the most time of their lives. It is being built, personalized, shaped, and has an individual meaning for the inhabitants. The diffusion of mobile networks, the growing popularity of smart devices, and the new trend of transforming and shaping the home with SH systems are rapidly expanding the SH market. The global SH market revenue grew from 24.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2016 to 31.4 billion U.S. dollars in 2018, and presumably, these values will increase to 40.9 billion U.S. dollars in 2020 and 53.45 billion U.S. dollars in 2022 (Zion Market Research, 2018). This growth and distribution continue to increase worldwide, for example in the USA, China, Japan, Germany, and the United Kingdom, which have the largest SH market revenues (Statista, 2018). Many studies predict an exponentially rising importance for SH environments with the potential to become an essential installation in housing environments (Kim et al., 2017). Overall, the SH trend has become increasingly prevalent and popular, particularly in recent years, due to motivators such as surveillance, energy management, automatic light control, physical protection, lifestyle support, healthcare, and the monitoring of children, elderly family members and pets (Schiefer, 2015; Sivaraman et al., 2016). Despite the positive application areas for SH systems with regards to the spread of the technology in the future, SH devices have not yet been widely adopted (Yang et al., 2017) and gives therefore space for future research. An important reason could be the still very fragmented market, where many technologies are not yet mature and standardized and not yet in place to ensure interoperability between different manufacturers.

From a practitioners and manufacturer side, a SH aims to improve wellness and living comfort of its inhabitants, with the help of smart devices and smart services. These smart devices are connected to the internet and built up a SH environment. The end-users of SHs have high expectations in the use of products like with regard to usability and perceived usefulness (Park et al., 2018). Because SH products are used within the private homes of end-users and, therefore, are intended to increase the well-being of inhabitants, the active participation of end-user in the development process of SH applications and systems can lead to more efficient SH systems (Kawsar et al., 2008). Consequently, studies in which SH systems and end-users are taken into account can be very valuable for practitioners, as the offered SH products more efficiently and adequate meet customer requirements. This result is important because realizing and understanding end-user requirements and needs have been recognized as unavoidable challenges for organizations (Galli, 2019).

Recent calls for papers, e.g., at the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS) or the Hawaii International Conference on System Science (HICSS), try to catch up with this relatively new rising research field and expand the knowledge about SH technologies (ICIS, 2018; HICSS, 2018). The main problem in this field is that these smart products, which are available on the mass-market, are much more advanced than the ability of the research to analyze and evaluate it. As a first step and to bridge this gap in the literature, the overall goal of this work is to provide a comprehensive review that characterizes the status quo of the academic SH literature and to show what the community knows about SHs in their interaction with their end-users. Literature reviews can serve as a starting point for investigations and helps the researcher to acquire an understanding in a certain research field (Hart, 1998; Templier & Paré, 2015). Current literature review articles focus primarily on specific areas of SH research, e.g., energy management (Al-Sumaiti et al., 2014), SHs in relation to healing diseases (Stip & Rialle, 2005), and SHs to support elderly people (Cozza et al., 2017), and syntheses of existing knowledge about SHs and possible trends that not directly focus on end-users (Solaimani et al., 2015). Based on these statements, the following research question leads the literature review procedure:

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