Smart home technology has arrived – with new inventions, devices, and features being designed every day. What makes these technologies “smart” is the ability to control the technology or receive notifications on a smart phone or other mobile device. These technologies benefit homeowners of all ages by providing greater convenience, safety, security, and savings. For homeowners age 50 and older, it can be especially beneficial as their lifestyles may change; smart home technology has the potential to make day-to-day life easier, assist with home maintenance, and generally make a home more livable.


Research Findings: Expert Ranking

The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence® and the MIT AgeLab’s research consisted of an extensive review of 25 smart home technologies by a panel of leading experts on housing, aging, and technology from the fields of occupational therapy, interior design, computer science, gerontology, and engineering, and a survey of homeowners.
 
The expert reviews were used to identify the top 10 smart home technologies that can make life easier, help with home maintenance, and enhance safety and security for homeowners over the age of 50. The top 10 technologies include the following. For descriptions of the technologies, download our list of Top Smart Home Technologies for Mature Homeowners.
 
  1. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  2. Wireless doorbell cameras
  3. Keyless entry
  4. Automatic lighting
  5. Smart water shutoff valves
  6. Smart home security systems
  7. Smart outlets/plugs
  8. Smart thermostats
  9. Water and/or mold monitoring sensors
  10. Smart window blinds
     

Research Findings: Homeowner Survey

In addition to the expert panel, a survey of homeowners over the age of 50 sought to gauge their perspectives on smart home technology. The survey found that homeowners’ number one concern about their home was maintenance. However, maintenance was not their top choice when considering the benefits of smart home technology. They cited safety and security (49 percent), saving energy (47 percent), and making day-to-day life easy and convenient (33 percent) as the top three benefits. There is an opportunity for homeowners to consider smart home technologies as a way to help with home maintenance; many of them can protect homes and prevent situations that can result in costly repairs, such as burst pipes or water leaks.
 
According to the survey, just over half (51 percent) of homeowners over the age of 50 either have smart home technology or are interested in getting it. Of those who do not currently have smart home technology but plan to purchase it or are interested in getting it, about half (49 percent) are willing to spend between $101 and $500 on it in a given year.
 

Homeowners with Health Conditions and Family Caregivers

The expert panel also identified a list of smart home technologies that may particularly benefit homeowners who have a health condition or are caring for a family member. The technologies on this list may help homeowners and caregivers maintain safety, independence, and well-being at home.

The top 5 technologies on that list include:
 
  1. Telehealth systems
  2. Medical management systems
  3. Medication management systems
  4. Smart fall detection systems
  5. Smart beds/sleep sensors
For the full list and descriptions of the technologies, download our list of Top Smart Home Technologies for Homeowners with a Health Condition or Caregivers.


Ways to Learn More About Smart Home Technology

What concerns do you have about your home? And which smart home technologies may offer a solution? If you’ve ever locked yourself out of the house, for example, you may be interested in a keyless entry system. Or if you’ve had water damage, technology such as water monitoring sensors and smart water shut-off valves can help you avoid property damage and reduce costly repairs.
 
When considering smart home technology, use our list of the top 10 to assess what might work best for you.
 
  • Research what’s out there and the benefits of the technology
  • Determine what might work best for your home and family
  • Visit The Hartford Smart Home to experience an interactive digital smart home and learn more about how these technologies work
For more information on the Top Smart Home Technologies research, check out our infographic.
 

Research Methodology: The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab identified a list of experts who were professionals with expertise in the housing, technology and aging from the fields of occupational therapy, interior design, computer science, gerontology, and engineering. The panel of nine experts completed questionnaires reviewing 25 different smart home technologies. The results of these reviews were used to identify the top 10 technologies with benefits for 50+ homeowners.
 
YouGov conducted an online survey among 1,092 homeowners in the U.S. between Oct. 6-10, 2016 of whom 728 were 50+. Margin of error for this study is +/- 3.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.
 
This information is intended to help individuals who seek information about smart home technology. It is not intended to be an exhaustive source or to relate to a particular product, service, individual, or living situation. Readers are advised to consult the appropriate professionals to assist them in analyzing their situation.