Pre-installation challenges: classifying barriers to the introduction of smart home technology

Increasing technological developments indicate potential for a variety of improvements in the domestic environment. As part of an interdisciplinary research project, this study interviewed households prior to the installation of smart home technologies (SHTs) in order to identify critical issues at the pre-installation phase. Semi-structured interviews took place in 16 houses before the installation of SHTs, when a range of smart sensors and controls were presented to households for the first time. At this stage, they started to make key decisions about which devices to use, where to install, and how to position them. Participants mentioned diverse issues surrounding the introduction of SHTs. To guide the qualitative analysis, an organizing framework for research on smart homes and their users was used. This paper indicates that, even though participants appreciate the functional aspects of SHTs and the possibilities of a better living, their concerns related to technology (hardware & software), design (acceptability & usability) and spaces (home as complex places) are numerous. These results complement the existing literature (which focuses more on the use phase) with the perceived enablers and barriers prior to the installation of SHTs.