Turns out our demands for a smarter home are pretty basic

By James Robinson , written on May 14, 2014

From The News Desk

Today, current smart home options tend towards elaborate Rube Goldberg-esque systems that promise more time fiddling around and setting things up than they do in benefits.

But where early "connected home" efforts have revolved around monitoring our scales to book doctor's appointments when we get too fat, programming in commands to teach your lights to switch on when your car parks or setting a TV up to order a pizza for us when we start a movie, it turns out most people aren't really that into cool shiny toys.

Instead, according to iControl's 2014 State of the Smart Home Report released today, only 29% of respondents cared about having a cool automated entertainment system. What most people want from a connected home, apparently, is security and energy management. In fact, they care about very little else.

Two-thirds said that security should be the primary and most important function of the smart home, monitoring for break-ins, fire and carbon monoxide leaks. Eighty percent of those surveyed wanted smart heating and cooling systems and a thermostat that switched off when people left the house. (Comparatively, just 14 percent showed interest in a door that unlocked for them.)

Slightly terrifyingly, 18 percent of respondents said they would be more willing to leave their kids at home at an earlier age if they had a live video feed of their home and remote abilities to lock the house and turn the TV off.

Perhaps indicative of the few core needs most people feel like they need from a smart home, half of all people iControl spoke to wouldn’t pay more than $500 for a fully automated system. A third would pay between $500 and $3,000.

Which is perhaps one of the central dilemmas of the Internet of Things era so far. Value. The home will get smarter and more seamless, quickly. But how much would you pay for your house to recognize you and unlock the door, when you can do the same thing with a key anyway?

The market seems prime for a stripped back offering that meets these real and simple needs rather than offering functionality that doesn't solve pressing pain points.