Imagining the Internet Project

 

 Responses to this 2020 scenario were assembled from Internet stakeholders in the 2012 Pew Internet & American Life/Elon University Future of the Internet Survey. Some respondents chose to identify themselves; many did not. We share some—not all—of the responses here. Workplaces of respondents who shared their identity are attributed only for the purpose of indicating a level of expertise; statements reflect personal views. If you would like to participate in the next survey, mail andersj [at] elon dotedu; include information on your expertise.  



 
Anonymous responses
to a tension pair on
smart systems and
the Internet in 2020 

This page includes anonymous survey participants' contributions to the discussion of the future of the Internet and smart systems by 2020. This is one of eight questions raised by the 2012 Elon University-Pew Internet survey of technology experts, stakeholders, and social analysts. Results on this question were first released by Pew Internet Director Lee Rainie and Imagining the Internet Director Janna Quitney Anderson June 29, 2012.

In a recent survey about the likely future of the Internet, technology experts and stakeholders were fairly evenly split when it came to imagining what role smart systems may play in making people's homes more efficient by 2020. 

>To read the official study report, please click here.<

>To read credited responses by participants in answer to this question, click here.<

Following is a large sample of the responses from survey participants who preferred to keep their remarks anonymous when sharing their thoughts in the survey. Some are longer versions of responses that were edited to fit in the official report. About half of the respondents chose to remain anonymous and half took credit for their remarks (for-credit responses are published on a separate page).

Survey participants were asked, “How do you see smart systems evolving and being used? Explain your choice and share your view of this tension pair's implications for the future. What are the positives, negatives, and shades of grey in the likely future you anticipate?” They answered:

“Smart systems are expensive as well as invasive, and few people on the planet can afford to equip their homes with essentials, let alone gadgets that will wash their clothes automatically at off-peak hours or rotate their solar panels to follow the sun. Meanwhile, I have yet to hear from a smartness provider who is neither a geek in love with the ‘coolness’ factor nor a businessman looking to charge huge amounts for providing the ‘solution’ to a problem that doesn’t really exist.”

“The Home of the Future is as far away now as it was when The Jetsons aired, but trust and complexity is not the main problem: Most of the services involved in smart home scenarios are really the last mile of very complicated logistics (food) and systems management (power, water) chains, which would require significant investment to support this last mile. In the United States, I simply don’t see the political will for this type of rebuilding developing in the next decade. Smart power systems may make some headway, but the primary driver for smart grids will be new generating and storage devices at the leaves of the grid—home wind power and electric vehicles—and without large-scale investment in these technologies, the urgency won’t be there to support them.”

“As we’ve seen through countless home-automation efforts of the past sixty years, standardization of communications across sectors of consumer products is nearly impossible. The idea that your refrigerator will notice that you haven't been opening the garage door lately and will jointly decide with your doormat and your running shoes to order more protein from your CSA to accommodate your new walking-intensive lifestyle, is just a fantasy. At best, we may see some smart-grid applications that will allow utilities to peak-shave by modulating non-critical demand.”

“Smart systems are tremendously helpful to provide responses to emergencies, to avoid serious problems (like gas leaks), and to help people locate the glasses, keys, and cell phones! I can’t wait until we all live in smart homes.”

“Smart systems will evolve out of the app-based ecosystem. People will be accustomed to using mobile sensors and other devices and will think that putting them in their homes is completely awesome. We’ve already seen widespread adoption of home webcam devices and RFID tags without much consumer protest, despite all the privacy-invading potentials embedded in these objects. The outcome of all this will be that rich people will have smart homes that are nicely customized, and poor people will have smart homes that are on default surveillance mode. Maybe you can get more functionality if you agree to watch ads on your microwave or broadcast them via your climate control system. Also, silent updates to your smart home are going to be hilarious. ‘My lighting system just crashed! Can you help me reboot my kitchen?’”

“We are getting there. My area of interest is the Home of the Future and we are already working on these systems.”

“The major problem with smart systems and their lack of progress in the past has been that they are likely to decrease dependence on the grid and reduce consumption. Current energy purveyors stand to gain more from the status quo. Unless considerable funding is made available, either from the government or from progressively minded billionaires, entrepreneurs who are working on smart systems that could give consumers greater independence are unlikely to have a major impact. Another trend that bodes poorly for homes of the future is the decreasing buying power of the middle class. Such systems can only become widespread if people can afford the initial cost. And while technical solutions become more competitive over time, the initial costs are usually out of range for most people. Unless the middle class regains its buying power, this situation will worsen.”

“The installed base of existing devices is a problem, and the threat of information overload and prohibitive price-points (and questionable return on investment) will hinder adoption of IP-enabled devices. It’s a niche trend.”

“I’ve worked in automated metering infrastructure for three years and understand these systems from circuit boards to consumers. Very few of the promised benefits have materialized after five years of deployment, especially with energy savings. The main cost savings were actually manpower reductions due to automated meter readings, and the consumer saw none of that passed on. In 2011, the smart grid vendor I work with has chronic problems and rarely performs as expected. We spend days correcting systems and utility bills. Quality control is not robust, and foreign outsourcing of circuit boards and software has driven costs very high due to chronic quality issues. Consumers have little real understanding of these systems and how system flaws and meter misconfigurations affect their bills. Our home energy project was not enthusiastically embraced, and real communication issues persist. Consumers receive only contingent information about the effects of added radiofrequency energy [electromagnetic radiation] in their homes. They also are resistant to intrusive monitoring and control of their home equipment, and added power consumption for the monitoring equipment to reduce consumption. Utility workers are basically honest and committed people, but the bottom line of the corporation will always be to increase consumption. Those with poor Internet resources—tribes, rural, poor—will be completely shut out. Those with smart-grid systems enabled in their homes will become even less aware of energy delivery systems in the economy.”

“Finally a vision of the electronic future that doesn’t make one suicidal; automating the operation of houses is so much less dispiriting a prospect than automating the operation of humans. But it won't happen by 2020, because it will cost enormous money that nobody has.”

“It will be sold to citizens on the ability of networked solar panels to save baby seals from global warming and so on, but will really be implemented because it helps grid operators manage peak demand. This will have up sides and down sides (fewer new power plants = good, longer life for existing and pollution-prone plants = bad), but more of the effects will show up in the world’s network operation centers and fresh direct-style warehousing-and-trucking operations than in the home, which makes the visible outcome look more like B.”

“I don’t think large-scale infrastructure systems will be regulated into shape for this to happen in this time frame, and no one wants to talk to their refrigerator anyway. Competition will not lead to the emergence of the open standards needed to spur adoption. Unless if a Netflix or Apple of appliances comes along with a business model and hardware platform that shows how to operationalize this long-discussed paradigm, we’re not likely to see much movement. Honestly, do consumers these days have the spare cash to pay premium prices up front for supposed savings down the road on durable goods like these?”

“While a host of smart systems will be proffered, and embedded chipsets will enable a much broader universe of connected devices, the willingness and ability of users to take on responsibility for management of these many devices’ consumption will be limited. Smart energy meters have thus far not proven popular at the individual user level. Such meters may be successful at an institutional level, with the institutions responsible for managing consumption, but not at the individual user level. But only a minority of the entire population will take on responsibility for managing their own usage via these devices. To the extent these devices are perceived as shifting work from the serving institution to the consumer, they will remain unpopular. Success at the home level will require the deploying institution to simplify the task of management and minimize the effort required on behalf of the householder to something equivalent to managing a thermostat. Success at the enterprise level will be a much different matter and will produce greater economic and environmental savings because of the incentives and workforce available to manage such systems.”

“It won’t be consumer trust that’s an issue; it will be dishonest business practices. GE and others who are positioning for dominance of this market are already figuring out ways to sustain profits, even as electricity consumption is technically reduced by smart systems. They don’t want new competitors to enter the market, and regulators are helping to protect the established firms. So, as in France and other places where smart metering has been deployed, consumers are learning the big utilities are not planning any time soon to altruistically give up the profit margins of the pre-green economy. To think it’s going to be unwilling consumers rather than unwilling capitalists who erect obstacles to the smart-design economy is just naive.”

“The Home of the Future may create new efficiencies but is likely to create new problems too. Resource consumption and management will be dependent on the availability of resources and their costs more than technological change. Plus, the costs of powering Internet-driven homes may be high in terms of the natural resources, electrical resources, and processing power needed.”

“If the ‘Internet of Things’ succeeds, the connected household will succeed. Market forces and political realities will drive the demand for greater efficiency in consumption. Our national interests (beginning with our balance of trade, preservation of our environment, etc.) will drive new incentives for households to use these tools. You were wise to include ‘bandwidth’ in the resources that can be used more efficiently. There will also need to be incentives for innovators to be mindful of bandwidth consumption in designing apps and Web-based products, because economic scarcity is a factor in wireline and wireless networking no less than in the power grid and the food chain.”

“As long as the market is interested in behavioral information, smart systems will become a reality. For example, a brand of dairy produce will certainly want to know how often a produce is consumed, the qualities of the most-eaten products, and the characteristics of those that consume them.”

“The idea that smart systems will result in reduced power consumption seems to be predicated on the notion that running your washing machine in the middle of the night is a way to save energy. That may be true, but who wants their washing machine running at 3 a.m.?”

“The commercial use of IP-enabled devices to track everything and the prototypes of the smart home make it clear the scenario with efficient smart homes may be likely. Combine this with the need for productivity and efficiency in our lives with the rise of mobile technologies, and this will be a welcome trend. I am imagining my refrigerator tells me when I need to order something, the garden asks for fertilizer and water when it is needed, and the house controls the energy to meet your budget. But the dark sides are threats to data integrity and data security. Should these not be addressed, the public trust will erode and the negative scenario will be the reality.”

“This might happen by 2030 to 2040. It will take a lot of time to get smart metres and other smart infrastructure installed, and to make it transparent and comfortable. You’re changing deep habits of everyday life. But its advantages are pretty overwhelming. So it will happen, just slowly.”

“Improved information about consumption of resources would be cost-effective and will probably be embraced the public.”

“I expect a few notable successes in this area but pervasive adoption will take longer than expected.”

“Trust will be an issue, as will control.”

“It’s only a question of time, implementation, and political will. There is no alternative given the coming crises.”

“Time frame is too short. This will probably come about, but it requires too much retrofitting of infrastructure and changes in behavior to accomplish in nine years.”

“People who tolerate smart meters have a death wish.”

“A major problem is retrofitting existing homes. There is limited new-home construction worldwide in today’s economy, thus, to achieve widespread use of smart systems in the home, inexpensive or tax-incentivized retrofitting of homes will be needed.”

“This is not a matter of trust. First, there are only 8.25 years left to make significant changes in the deployment of intelligent devices, pertinent communications systems, control systems, and rewards that the average person can understand and use. That assumes the average person desires to invest even a small amount of energy into this task. Motivation for the one-third of households that are rented is much less. Conversely, motivation and resources of landlords could lead to more rapid adoption of such technologies. The expected (by me at least) continued depression of home building means fewer already equipped houses will exist. Finally, experience with utility companies to date shows they really are not putting resources into this.”

“Smart homes will take at least another twenty to thirty years for mass adoption.”

“Smart systems will impact a lot of users and new users, as well.”

“There are too many things involving building codes and retrofitting that would be essential to this change, and in general, contractors are not at all tech savvy and don't particularly want to be. Banks will not want to have electronic systems that fail peppered throughout a house that they may end up responsible for selling. I’d like to see it, but I doubt it will happen.”

“The issue is not with trust. It is with consumer self-indulgence and the effort needed to manage the smart system. Anything that requires extra effort, and especially if it requires an abstract system model, will not make much progress, unless the economics of energy consumption change dramatically.”

“The models have proved they work, and people will understand the privacy issues better as time goes by.”

“We’re coming closer, but I’m not sure we’ll be totally there by 2020, certainly not everywhere in this country, let alone the rest of the developed world.”

“There will be massive security problems and a new type of high-tech organized crime robber who will break into a home using its least-protected system.”

“As an optimist, I think this will, on balance, be a good thing. As a realist, I recognize, that it will not be a universally good thing.”

“As more and more people realize that our resources are scarce, the market will have to respond with more efficient systems.”

“All it will take is some highly publicized privacy disasters for people to reject this new technology. It is up to companies to build trust and to behave responsibly if they want the first option to become reality. We aren’t there yet. They also, need to avoid ‘stupid’ applications that could be useful but provide minimal value and come across as creepy (surveillance).”

“In spite of the serious privacy and security issues, I expect people will like to use smart-home systems.”

“We are headed toward connected homes in the future, but not by 2020. In addition to privacy concerns, there are still other roadblocks including the cost of construction and expanded networking. Nine years is probably not enough time to wire the number of households needed for effective management.”

“People are getting poorer—they have less disposable income. They won’t spend money on efficiency because it isn’t sexy, it doesn’t improve their status, and most people will be worrying enough about how to pay the bills rather than how to figure out some kind of complicated extra layer of stuff.”

“The big difference is going to primarily be a case of social class. Smart houses with smart systems have been in the works for the last two decades and the price tag for such homes is out of the reach of most people. Those who can afford them, once the current recession loosens its grip, will certainly take advantage. This, however, will be focused on new homes and new home purchasing and the financing of such homes, to be blunt, is out of reach of 90% of at least the American population. Older homes have always outnumbered new ones. Nothing is new here. This reflects similar issues as in the case of cars—old cars from the 1980s and 1990s are still, somehow, on the roads because people can’t afford new ones. Homes are no different. I lean toward calling this particular initiative a failure, though, because of the sheer numbers of homes that will not get retrofitted. Even if legislation gets enacted that requires retrofitting, there will be homes that are ‘grandfathered’ for one reason or another, and some that won’t get retrofitted for lack of financing. I reference here the Americans with Disabilities Act legislation for ramps and access to sidewalks and buildings from the 1980s—there are still so many places thirty years later that are not accessible despite this.”

“Smart systems will be included in new-home construction, but I don’t see most people able to afford installation in older homes, nor do I see government subsidies available to incentivize this.”

“I’d rather be a utopian than a dystopian.”

“While progress has been slow, and as suggested in the second option, lack of consumer trust, as well as limitations on user capabilities (and interest in learning to use these systems), experience with feedback in relation to energy use in cars and in households will provide additional support for the integration of more and more of these smart systems into households. Dollars will overcome concerns about trust.”

“The Home of the Future will look and act somewhat differently from today’s, i.e., in a more ‘intelligent’ way, but it will still be rather far from being a ‘model of efficiency.’”

“PG&E is currently installing smart meters here in California. There are lots of protest in my community, and fear. The meters themselves are hard to read at the source, ugly, and invasive—I can clearly read all my neighbors’ usage.”

“It’s longer term than 2020. The primary driver for adoption will be saving money, and the primary resistance will come from the regulatory frameworks for energy utilities, which are change-resistant.”

“Vast numbers of people are living in crude housing with no electricity or access to clean water. Smart homes aren’t addressing that. Thus, if there are smart homes, they will be in a significant minority. Similar to my answer about online payment methods, I don’t see enough people feeling comfortable about providing access and information via smart homes to make it a trend that is widely adopted.”

“This is already evident in the more conservative descriptions of the smart grid and the reduced engagement in smart health from Google. Perhaps in 2040, these systems will rebound as efficiencies are better realized and the technology stabilizes to match specific value propositions that are socially acceptable.”

“More halfway between the two. Expect substantial smart, but domain-limited devices in the home, especially where there is significant benefit to the homeowner or resident. Specifically, smart grid related to the efficient use of energy, security related both to physical security and network security, and physical plant related to anticipating and mitigating system failures (water heater leak, gas leak, appliance failure) should make some headway, assuming the costs vs. benefits make sense.”

“If it doesn’t come to pass by 2020 it won’t be for these reasons of trust, etc. It’s just that these tech transformations take time. Maybe 2030 is a more likely date.”

“Scenarios like the first overlook the fact that 95% (or more) of the homes people will live in in 2020 have already been built and retrofitting will be slow and cumbersome. So while I have ticked the second, it is not for the reason given in the scenario that the 2020 home will look much like those of the present.”

“Smart systems will grow in popularity. Whether it is 2020 or 2050 or 2100 is hard to say.”

“Rising electricity prices plus demand will drive households to better management.”

“Although some of the technology will be embraced, change will take longer than 10 years to implement.”

“The connected household will promote efficiency; other things will degrade efficiency. Overall, the household will be less efficient.”

“There will be many more smart houses by 2020, and they’ll be those of the middle class and upper. They’ll be more concentrated in cities, too. Others will have to make do with those tired old things we call memory and hard work.”

“These initiatives will continue to improve and increase in adoption, but only the most passive and mass-produced smart systems fostered by the building code or tax code will get very far. Corporations will unwarily work against them by trying to finance them on the basis of 1) baseless hype, or 2) data-gathering that too many people will resent and resist.”

“The future will be more of a hodge-podge than a choice between the two options.”

“Too many complex and competing initiatives and interoperability and human attention limitations will make the so-called smart home the same kind of failed vision as Time-Warner’s interactive television of the early 1990s. There will be greater intelligence built into heating systems and the like, but nothing like what is now called a smart home.”

“The change will be slow and look different in different economies. The role of government will be important.”

“We are more likely to impact consumption habits through taxation and education rather than through intelligent devices to control and optimise household utility consumption.”

“Tech-savvy people are becoming environment-savvy, the technology should help us to save and protect our environment, or else we will have a problem.”

“High technology cannot replace the need for behavior change. It can at the most facilitate, but the driver in terms of any meaningful change in resource consumption will remain behavior. There will be change, but behavior will be reacting to necessity not to technology-induced convenience.”

“I don't subscribe to either of these extremes. By 2020, I expect the well-to-do will have harnessed the benefits of scenario one, while the rest of us will be playing catch-up. This assumes that the economic incentives of doing so will clearly outweigh the upgrading costs. The infrastructure costs alone will be significant; getting people to change their mindsets may prove even harder, especially in the United States, where too many Americans seem oblivious to their overly indulgent consumerism lifestyles.”

“People have already adopted programmable thermostats and are making use of the ability to turn electric appliances off and on from a distance. I am not sure how easy it will be to retrofit existing homes; devices that can work in existing homes have the most likelihood of success in the market.”

“People who are more eco-friendly and who easily deal with technology will tend to adopt smart systems to control their houses. However, this will continue being a choice for a small number of privileged people.”

“The technology available today and in the immediate future makes good on the promise of the ‘Home of the Future.’ Past attempts were made before the user-interface, and Internet protocol technology were strong enough to support them.”

“As fuel costs rise and new systems are installed in houses and apartments, smart systems will become an integral part of the home.”

“While I believe that some, and especially new homes, will include smart systems, old infrastructure (especially middle-class homes) will not be retrofitted to include elements of smart systems. It simply isn’t necessary and costs too much for widespread adoption.”

“There will be less than 20% of homes with smart systems due to costs and product reliability issues. Eighty percent of homeowners will prefer to keep doing things the way they do them now.”

“Here’s a case where I think there will be a strong trend—the better use of technology to manage homes and save energy. And this is an area with potential huge benefit to society because there is a potential to quite easily reduce energy consumption by a significant amount.”

“I do see smart homes coming to fruition if they are affordable. People want to save our natural resources and use energy more efficiently. It is, however, a double-edged sword. We will/do also give up our personal privacy and identify, again. In the future, I see the depleting of natural resources being the most important issue, for better or worse.”

“I see smart features almost daily that are completely ignored in favor of the old-fashioned way. And by the way, weren’t we supposed to be metric by this time?”

“In the case of the United States, smart systems will fail because state-run institutions such as utilities are chronically under-funded and there is no sign of a decline in the rampant anti-state ideology that dominates US politics. Without adequate funding and public investment, no amount of hype will make these systems function effectively.”

“We’ll be making progress but nowhere near the first option. Look at broadband penetration in this country.”

“System cost and complexity will continue to be too high to make this accessible to the average consumer.”

“We’re going to see more smart home stuff, but a lot of the results will be negative for end users. We’ll see more game playing by utilities in terms of shifting use to higher-priced periods.”

“Bill Gates’ interactive home will be in the Smithsonian Museum, as ancient. The interactive digital environment will be essential. Sooner than later.”

“Surely Bill Gates has an effective household, but all the other current mortals will be reluctant after being killed, poisoned, or limited by the small, subtle but strong-impact mistake of these systems. And the vast majority of humanity will keep looking for food and shelter, so they will not be worried about this.”

“Yes, the advent of smart grid may help this along.”

“I believe I have a videotape from 1980 predicting the Home of the Future in 1988.”

“Retrofitting existing homes is just too expensive. New homes will benefit from these things, but it will take a long time for it to become pervasive.”

“By 2020, the adoption of smart systems will likely fall somewhere between early adopter and early majority. The complexity of various platforms, the roll out of background infrastructure systems, the problem of user familiarity with user interface will negatively affect the adoption of this vision.”

“It’s easy for our systems to be a little smarter than they are. We won’t, however, go whole hog. We will be happy to let systems default most of the time, as long as we can override them when we need to. I don’t think smart systems can ever be smart enough that we won’t want periodic control—not all situations can be reduced to an algorithm. And the interfaces have to be usable! Some of my students did a study of programmable thermostats and found that people didn’t program them because they were too complicated and, most of all, too difficult to figure out.  The interfaces were just plain bad, so people didn’t bother with them. If so-called smart systems are too hard to manage, people won't use them.”

“2020 is too soon for mass integration of smart systems. The practicalities of old home environments and a lack of public will/money will prevent this. While they may go into new homes, the rate of building is not high enough to make a significant impact by 2020.”

“I do completely agree with option two. Right now, there do not seem to be social mechanisms to implement technological advances in the social life of real people.”

“The slow adoption of this type of thing will continue, although the advances in the possibilities and examples of success will advance.”

“We’ll move further along the path, but nine years is too short of time for the nirvana described in the first paragraph—which could have been written in 2000 about 2020, as well.”

“Saving energy (for example) will also save consumers money, and that’s why smart systems will take off. Saving the environment is a good goal, but saving money is a stronger incentive.”

“Due to the ever-increasing income gap, housing is going to continue looking exactly the same for the overwhelming majority of people world wide because very few will be able to actually afford making these types of changes to their homes. The upper-middle class and above may be able to make such changes, but it won’t reach the masses.”

“This will succeed because it will be needed. It is addressing a real pressing problem—the scarcity of resources in a world with increasing population and decreasing supplies of cheap energy.”

“Because I recently suffered through the loss of power during Hurricane Irene that included no running water, I don’t foresee future houses becoming even more dependent on the grid. Maybe if they have their own solar power source to run all the smart stuff, or some kind of back-up generator. But the weather is going to get more unpredictable and extreme due to global warming, and it will not be easy to protect buildings from violent winds and driving rains.”

“Unless there are cost incentives or people can clearly see the benefit, we won’t be buying smart toasters anytime soon.”

“I don’t think there is a trust problem as soon as those new systems actually bring an visible advantage and save active money.”

“The technology for the Home of the Future will be there, but the money to implement it on any sort of scale by 2020 will not. I don’t see it as a trust issue but rather as an economic one.”

“The smart house saves money, resources, and time, while creating jobs and making the world a better place for everybody. Additionally, the smart house will incorporate biomimicry by adopting many principles from nature. Houses will be more closely integrated with the materials, environment, and culture.”

“Some devices may be smart and may be connected. The electrical grid is a prime candidate for connection. We may find ourselves using connected devices in some medical situations, etc. However, there will be reluctance among many consumers to put all their bets on Internet protocol-enabled devices.”

“Simple, effective, and inexpensive. People will come to rely on and expect the control and connection they get with their environment these devices provide.”

“I don’t believe a large change will occur in the next decade. We are behind other nations in terms of nearly all technological advancements—Internet speed, solar power, high-speed rail—and given current political conditions I don’t foresee enough of a push towards encouraging further development and use of these and future technologies, especially for the average homeowner.”

“There are no signs that so-called smart systems will be implemented on a large scale in homes by 2020. There’s no big incentive yet.”

“Smart environments that have been developed so far are so white-male-oriented in vision and implementation that they fail on arrival. As long as smart environment development is stuck in the ‘Budweiser vision of the future,’ it will continue failing and floundering. This will not be corrected by 2020, but it might get better.”

“Smart home: See ‘Jetson, George.’”

“It takes a lot more than ten years for this to happen. The failure won't be due to trust, but just the slow nature of home building, especially given the market conditions.”

“The positives are overstated, but they are on the way.”

“There must be stronger incentives for households and more prodding for adoption of common standards—both most appropriately from governments. This will happen, but not by 2020.”

“These options are becoming common and may give the beleaguered home construction business some much needed income in the years ahead. I see no reason to assume that adoption of these new technologies will not occur.”

“The trend to every device in your home being an Internet-protocol-enabled device is clear. Best use will be for older adults who can afford self-monitoring smart homes. There will be a surge of retrofitting, licensing, etc., that will help revive the housing industry.”

“It took me many hours and more than $100 to get a couple of buttons in my new car to operate the front porch light. Now the damn thing has quit working. I consider myself an early adopter but the state of home automation just sucks. Based on what I’ve seen, it will take decades to bring about the first scenario. And I’m still not sure I’m getting much benefit from the programmable thermostat I installed years ago. You may see some move to more automation in new homes, but retrofitting is not going to be easy or quick. The Jetsons future you describe in the first scenario is a long, long way off.”

“We’ll be more efficient because of need, but what we think now will represent the Home of the Future will be a far cry from the actual systems in use by 2020. Nine years is a long time in technology development, and most of us have no idea of how that will prevail.”

“The adoption of smart systems will be very dependent on economics. If the price of equipping your house with these systems is cheap or subsidized by governments, then homes of the future will make inroads in the developed world. The developing world will remain on the other side of the digital divide.”
“Manufacturers are beginning to see the public wants their machines to do their thinking for them and are beginning to escape that Hollywood induced phobia of omnipotent computers subjugating mankind.”

“2020 is too soon for the Internet of Things to make inroads into the main consumer market. It will still be with early adopters at that point unless there’s a huge shift in ease of use for even simple things like downloading books and movies or setting my house alarm.”

“It may not resemble the Home of the Future as predicted in the 1960s, but it will be different than we have now. Devices will be connected to a common ‘bus’ to allow notification and communication. Resource management (power, water) will be very important. The ‘Internet-enabled fridge’ will never catch on.”

“Many rural homeowners can’t get high-speed Internet in 2011. These systems will be well-adopted in highly educated, affluent communities where the infrastructure already exists. They will probably never be commercially viable all across the United States without significant government subsidies.”

“The key to adoption will be whether ‘there’s an app for that’ or someone has to come to your house and tinker with the wiring. If appliances ‘high Wi-Fi’ to each other when they’re plugged in and create a peer-to-peer network that looks for a phone or tablet to drop its data into and receive controlling preferences from, then adoption will proceed quickly.”

“I remember the ‘House of the Future’ at Disneyland in the 1950s. Looking back, it was full of things that never came to be. I believe that smart homes will come, but that it will be a long time coming. We are not a race skilled in the art of creating highly stable control systems—look at the recent power failure in San Diego as an example of how errors can cascade into large failures. And the Internet is a land that is held together by duct-tape-and-bailing-wire engineering rather than well-understood control loops backed by a pathology science that understands how to work backwards from symptoms to possible causes. Nor is the Net built with the ‘Ma Bell’ level of built-in loopback testing. Consequently, I believe that smart homes will be met by sequences of failures—or urban legends of failures—and also the reality of building codes that will require that such systems be safe and also that they develop building-industry resources, including workers, who know how to install and maintain these things. In other words, it will take a long time.”

“I’m not sure what ‘connected household’ actually means. That said, as a homeowner, I would be very concerned about external control and regulation for a couple of reasons: 1) Power outages are still common, especially in my area. I have a gas stove for this very reason, so that if I were out of power for a couple of days (as happened in January 2009), I could still keep warm-ish and prepare food. 2) Any system is vulnerable to hacking. I would prefer not to have my home violated in this fashion.”

“Around 2020 or later I would expect significant changes in how information is transmitted for basic utilities.”

“We are mobile and need to control our home base remotely. It is inevitable that smart systems will become common.”

“I wish it were the case, but I don’t see most households replacing so many of their appliances and household features with IP-enabled devices. Maybe in another 20 years.”

“This scenario will definitely come to pass, but in advanced countries only. The rest of the world will be much slower.”

“Unless there are continued advances in data speed and ease of setting up home networks, the time and effort (and potentially cost) of smart systems will not provide a clear benefit to most consumers.”

“There will be those who choose not to participate as our culture transforms. I see little reason to impose change on them. Those who embrace the evermore intelligent, wise, connected, convenient, empowering, life-extending smart systems created by our machine-human transformation will lovingly attract many over time who are reluctant to change. The luddites are likely to slowly be building comfort in the new culture and will ultimately accept change as a positive move. I suppose some will choose to stay firmly planted in resistance. I hope the dominant culture will be able to compassionately accept them even as they self-destruct. Smart systems require a smart attitude to be optimally used.”

“Smart systems require retrofitting. That’s just too expensive for many people, and landlords are not going to want to spend that kind of money.”

“Economic forces, like the state of the economy, will spur innovation here.”

“The connected household has been ten years away now for over ten years, and I see no reason to believe that will shift soon. The major reasons for being connected are 1) convenience (ability to turn the lights out downstairs from your bedroom), and 2) better resource consumption.  I think No. 1 is slowly winning. No. 2—resource consumption—requires pricing schemes that actually reward better resource consumption. Most utilities pricing doesn’t. As an example, I’m in a resource-efficient home—roughly two-thirds of my gas bill in the summer is the account charge (which is flat, not usage based). Reducing usage doesn’t help me.”

“It seems unlikely because of the infrastructure conversion cost—not the software or computing equipment.”

“So much more can be done to achieve high efficiency but there are too many roadblocks present currently.”

“The positives are obvious, but the major negative would be the cost. How would it be implemented in older houses? What about apartments? Is the cost a barrier to entry for the average family?”

“I don’t believe the obstacle has much to do with ‘gaining consumer trust’ or ‘the complexities in using new services’—it’s just too damn expensive! Once the cost is within everyone’s reach (or is subsidized somehow) it will happen.”

“There are too many older homes to retrofit in the next ten years for this technology to take off.”

“There is so much research now going on into new models of efficiency that both cities and houses, as well as major buildings, will be transformed. The introduction of sensors will make a huge difference.”

“While the smart home has been promised for fifteen years now, economics will increasingly demand adoption. We are entering a time of scarcity with the ongoing financial woes the world faces and ever-increasing populations. Uncontrolled consumption is a thing of the past for most people in the world, except the most wealthy. Further, we know it is possible. Recently, I had the opportunity to take a ride in a new Ford Mustang. The car kept alerting us to when the speed had reached seventy miles per hour and warning us to slow down. It was a suggestive governor of speed. This indicates to me that generally we will see more and more electronics that help us manage our consumption of all things to avoid excess.”

“The use of smart systems will proliferate—but over a longer period of time. The Home of the Future will happen but further into the future.”

“Consumer devices will become more efficient as fuel prices rise and market demand for more efficient devices increases.”

“I think some of the software needed to engineer smart systems can be engineered as locally controlling a dumb network of utility services. If smart systems are entirely controlled by the utility companies, trust will be harder to come by. If people controlled their own systems and utility use based on information in their own local monitoring and control systems, trust will be easier to establish.”

“Consumer trust won’t be much of an obstacle. People understand convenience and cost, but privacy risks seem distant and speculative.”

“It cannot come soon enough for me. I trust the systems more than I trust the humans who are currently reading, recording, and billing. Better records! More analysis and prediction! Bigger savings for all of us! Quick. Quick.”

“Rising energy costs will force the change.”

“This is going to happen, but it won’t look as cool as we all once envisioned. We won’t put a screen in the refrigerator, but the building blocks will be about communication between devices and efficiencies to be gained.”

“I don’t think they’ve failed due to lack of user trust—I think they’ve failed due to lack of standardization, interoperability, and (most importantly) user-friendly experience.”

“Already, people can unlock doors, turn on lights, change TV channels, and choose music all from the same device they’re using to read a book or play Angry Birds. Development is in progress at corporations like Microsoft and Apple to produce devices that serve as a technology hub. Bill Gates’ personal home outside Seattle is an example of what is possible and to come.”

“I would like to believe that advances in household technology, especially for more efficient use of resources, would spread rapidly. But the process will take far, far longer than most of us would hope. It will take decades before homes and businesses are renovated and brought up to modern building code, and longer still to bring them up to today’s state of the art. I expect small, simple improvements will trickle in over time, but I don’t think we’ll see sweeping change in this sector.”

“I would be more comfortable with my answer if we were talking 2030 instead of 2020. I think there will be a trend towards smart systems but it will take quite a bit of time to deploy widely.”

“The data panel on the Prius allowed for the emergence of hyper-miling—the same will occur once people have real time data on their other spheres of energy consumption.”

“There will be growth in this arena, but the technologies will not be the common case by 2020. There are too many barriers—if people are barely holding on to their homes, how are they going to afford to make them smart? We will see more smart new construction, but the initial costs of retrofitting existing infrastructure will be prohibitive.”

“Both are true. It will take more than nine years to achieve the smart grid and the smart house. But the trend is here.”

“2020 is still too early for smart systems to come of age.”

“The Home of the Future will be technically possible and practically attainable (through existing services), but the adoption won’t be widespread because of the potential cost.”

“I kind of live in a place in the world were getting a serious Internet connection is still a huge issue. I have been waiting for it for more than 10 years since my return from the United Kingdom, but it ain’t happening. Chaos outside the West will remain, and no smart houses are going to be built.”

“There is enormous potential here, but my answer relies on these systems being transparent/passive to everyday people. I don’t think by 2020 the average user will be monitoring the contents of their refrigerator remotely and automatically generating shopping lists; however, smart meters and sensors in devices that do not require the direct attention of users will be a critical part of the 2020 home.”

“There are so many choices in smart home, smart system decisions—everyday choices made by homeowners, renters, and landlords; production choices made by businesses and industries related to dwellings; utility/service choices made by governments at all levels. Especially in well-informed, advanced societies, there are competing stakeholders and histories of past choices to accommodate, writ large. So no matter how much a person might want (and be able to afford) a connected, environmentally efficient household, it might not be within reach politically or physically. A disaster of some sort might move a process along more rapidly toward adopting efficient, smart systems because of the necessity of (re)inventing broken systems. Unfortunately, the high anxiety levels associated with disasters do not often help distressed people adopt new behaviors, much less new, smart systems. Still, if forced to save an economy, space, air, water in order to survive, people might get smart(er) with their systems.”

“I totally believe this will happen. I think we’re already on track for this, and it’s a really good idea.”

“I already see this starting to happen. We, as a society, are slowly but surely moving towards allowing technology to help us be more environmentally friendly. We can use eReaders to save paper, we use smart phones and tablets that require less energy than a computer, and battery life is always one of the points made for new devices.”

“Smarts systems will be a way of the future. They are convenient and will make life more efficient.”

“The key here is ‘complexities in using new services,’ although they may just be crammed down consumers’ throats.”

“The Home of the Future will become the norm in new construction projects by 2020. But the rollout of IP-enabled devices in existing homes will not make much growth within the decade. The high initial costs for this technology will not be deemed worthwhile to most people in advanced societies. And there will be no growth of the Home of the Future in lower-income societies.”

“I hope that in the near future the cost of smarter, greener tools for the home falls so that more people can use them. I believe more people will take green actions if it saves them money. Right now, it is often cost-prohibitive.”

“The benefits of these technologies to industry are too large to overlook. If the cost differences are nominal, I see adoption as being slow and depending on the construction of new homes and renovation of existing structures. Security will not be seen as an issue.”

“They will be used to monitor utility consumption, for security and such. All of the components are there and companies have been getting closer to making it a reality over the past five years. Smart systems will begin to be tapped for healthcare (home health care for the disabled and elderly, too).”

“While everything, cars for example, advance at an unbelievable pace, buildings have a way of being decades and decades behind the times.”

“We have great possibilities of advancing significantly. As smart technology is integrated more and more into all electronic devices, the Internet, TV and cable, and installation of devices into home networks is made easier and less expensive, the implementation will increase.”

“We’ve never been good at predicting and adopting household technologies. I don’t see any reason why that would change by 2020.”

“Many types of housing will exist, but, if smart systems prove reliable and economical, then yes, they will be desired and used. However, I can see a ‘cloud’ approach developing whereby individual homes will not need to have devices installed in them, but will be connected via cable or similar to smart systems that monitor heating, a/c, electrical use, etc.”

“With all the natural disasters occurring across the country, this is not what I want to have in my home. I’ve been through more than one hurricane and the resulting flooding. I’ve lost power, had my home flooded. There is no way I want all of my systems to go down at once. Things need to be kept separate.”

“It will take longer, but I do think this is going to happen.”

“It seems like we’ve been hearing about this for years. Do I really my washer to send me a Tweet or an email when it’s done? I would, however, like for empty packaged goods boxes to get automatically added to my grocery shopping app on my iPhone.”

“The first choice will happen, just not by 2020. The technologies aren’t there yet.”

“Once this becomes affordable, people will do it. Our electricity and water use are already metered. People won’t have a trust issue with having more real-time information about their own electricity and water consumption. Also, people signed up for grocery store cards, and it is already possible for grocery stores to track all of their food purchases. I don't think consumers will have a lot of problems trusting these consumption-tracking systems.”

“Smart systems will work well in new homes and new communities but it will be difficult and expensive for older homes/neighborhoods to convert to new systems, like the transition to fiberoptic cable. I’m still waiting for Verizon to lay the ground work in my area, so it isn’t even an option.”

“People do not like change. Eight years is not enough time.”

“It will start small and build our trust.”

“I agree with the first choice, but this will take much longer that 2020.”

“Who is building the Home of the Future between now and 2020? How’s the real estate market looking to you? Who would retrofit millions of unwired, old homes?”

“As we become more adept at using technology and software, we will apply it more readily to our homes. The connected household is just around the corner for the majority of Americans, and ideally it will be widespread to save time, money, and resources. I would hope it is not used to further the gap between rich and poor.”

“The tech will be there but look how long homes last, so it will take a long time for implementation.”

“Security concerns will be paramount. Aging baby-boomers won’t trust the new smart systems, and too many of the younger generation will not be able to afford them.”

“Smart homes will become more and more common. There will be little consumer resistance to this, as there has been little consumer resistance to home computers and mobile devices. The most troubling aspect will be the gap between high- and low-income consumers in the availability of these technologies.”

“Nine years won't be enough time for the ‘Home of the Future,’ as described, to come to fruition. In twenty years perhaps, but nine years isn’t long enough for the pricing to come down for widespread adoption.”

“People are more likely to adopt smart systems because they seem to lead to lower expenses and overall efficiency. When it comes to money, people will listen.”

“Many will choose to keep their homes as a haven from intrusive technology utilized in the professional world.”

“As the cost savings grow and energy is more of a national security issue, smart systems will continue to gain traction but perhaps less obviously than people expect.”

“The implementation of smart systems needs to be part of a coordinated, national strategy on our energy future in order to work. We need a Kennedyesque president who takes us, as a nation, to the moon in ten years—and I don’t see that happening anytime soon. We are so fragmented that smart systems are doomed to fragmented implementation for the next nine years. Also, most folks don’t want the government or energy company to know what time they bathe or shit each day.”

“Smart systems will become mandated. Electronic medical records are forcing this in health care. We will have laws to make it happen since we will believe the alternative is wasteful.”

“There is a policy element that could thwart the growth of efficient connected homes as you describe. Energy will have to grow more expensive, water more expensive for people to care enough to install such systems widespread. And I don’t think politicians in search of votes will allow things to go this way. Hmmm, but if the economy continues a long-term downward slide, then maybe people will adopt these systems. In short, if it makes economic sense, people will do this.”

“What I’ve seen so far of smart systems require households to buy not only a smart system but all new appliances that talk to each other and to the system. It’s hard enough to get a TV, DVD, and other media to coordinate via a single remote, for example. The difficulties and especially the expense of not only the systems, but also the appliances and proper installation and maintenance, will far outweigh the benefits.”

“Smart homes of 2020 will have smart filters for removing fracking chemicals from our drinking water. Smart thermostats will keep our homes in the range between 45 in the winter and 95 in the summer, because energy will be so expensive that most people will only use it to keep from dying in their beds at night.”

“Smart systems already exist and why wouldn’t people want to go there? Using less resources and placing less of a burden on the environment is a win-win for everyone.”

“Smart systems will generate revenue for those companies who manage and control the systems. Whereas there will be a savings on environmental infrastructure, there will not be an equivalent savings to the consumer. The lobbyists for energy companies, food commodities, and the like will not let this happen, unless their profits can be secured.”

“Within the next ten years what has been promised during the last ten years will finally come to fruition.”

“Tough to do in ten years. Given the likelihood of continued recession, homes will not advance, but the research supporting this type of revolution should be funded by governments.”

“The usability and cost will not be ready for general consumption by 2020. It will be far to difficult to navigate the systems and expensive to implement in nine years.”

“It has already happened in the motor industry.”

“Complexities will be a bigger barrier than trust. The financial costs of the technologies, together with the non-financial costs in the form of time and mental effort required to set up and use these technologies, won’t be offset by the financial and environmental benefits. Some consumers may adopt these technologies as novelties or ‘toys’ (an experiential benefit to supplement the financial and environmental ones), but adoption will not be widespread.”

“This is a draw. The rich will have scenario one, the poor scenario two.”

“Starting with the television and entertainment, smart systems will embed themselves into our homes. It will take longer for other systems, such as heating, etc. My stove is a lot smarter than it was fifteen years ago, but it is still not connected to the Internet. I imagine my next stove will be. The Home of the Future will not look like the Jetsons’, but it will be more wired than it is today.”

“The smart home in some form or another is an inevitability; however, it is a tall order to widely implement such in only nine years.”

“It’s happening now. Market forces and the need for sustainability will do the rest.”

“Homes are infrastructure, and infrastructure is hard to shift. I do predict smart phones will begin to power more of people’s homes systems in a more widespread way (garage door, lights, etc.), but 2020 is too soon. Plus, as the joke goes, there is a fear factor involved if your bathroom scale can talk to your refrigerator.”

“Again, this is a timing scenario. I believe we will get to the first scenario, but not by 2020.”

“Give it time to work out the kinks.”

“While the technology is available to manage these kinds of smart systems, the limits on technology to install them in existing homes means that they will only be available to a small number of households.”

“Again, I must go back to money—it is cheaper to consume more.”

“I don’t believe there are big enough payoffs in smart refrigerators for wide scale adoption given the added cost and complexity. By and large, people are happy having their refrigerator store the milk, while the television set and computer handle the entertainment tasks, and their paper pad reminds them to buy milk.”

“Scenario one only works if people are rich enough to afford such an environment. It’s tremendously expensive. If the society believes that energy costs can be very much reduced and is prepared to make the investments, then scenario one works. However, given the current economic situation and technological problems with the smart home, scenario two (2020) is more likely.”

“The technology is getting there, and people will want more convenience.”

“I don’t think people have the money to redo their houses to be smart. This may happen in the future, but 2020 is too soon.”

“The home of 2020 will be improved in terms of energy efficiency through the use of smarter systems, but comprehensive smart systems are expensive modifications to existing homes and will not be as widely adopted as we might like them to be. The adoption will be driven by cost efficiency and not by idealism.”

“I only chose the second option because I recognize that 2020 is not very far away. We will, however, be well on our way to having smart systems in our ever-so-smart homes. Let’s look to 2030.”

“Tough sell on monitoring electricity. Good luck on convincing people to evaluate their usage of other resources, unless resources become incredibly costly and monitored usage is the only option.”

“Smart systems won’t make homes resemble the Jetsons’ world, but more standardization of user interfaces, increasing use of smart phones, and easier connectivity will almost certainly mean that I’ll be able to use my mobile device to check out my house, see and talk to my kids there (as opposed to making ‘phone calls’), and operate various devices there.”

“It would be a great thing—but will our government invest in companies trying to push that forward? Will this be obtainable only by the middle and upper classes? Who are you talking about? I don’t see this happening in public housing. What would be the up-front costs of creating a smart home? Solar is a noble ideal, but installing it is still very costly.”

“The globe’s escalating environmental crisis will necessitate smart systems. A potential negative might be that people assume less responsibility for making responsible decisions, but if the technology is truly smart, then I hope it will reign.”

“Of course, the housing market is currently locked up, and it is impossible to see how homes could be retrofitted with these kinds of devices, but I do think this outcome is more likely than the status quo. My primary reason is that conserving resources will become serious business. This is because of rising costs, and increased environmental concern. Also, I expect new technologies to arrive on the scene in response to the growing demand. These smart systems may or may not look like what we imagine today, but they will help manage the consumption of resources.”

“Trust is the critical factor in all of our speculation about the future. Young people today place a great deal of faith in their smart phones, computers, and other tech products—trust that their parents, and certainly their grandparents, do not share. As today’s teens age, as their grandparents pass, as demographic and economic segments of our society achieve parity in Internet communications, a sufficient comfort level will be achieved for the dream Home of the Future to be realized.”

“The Home of the Future would be beneficial to electronically measure utilization of electricity, water, and gas. Usage could be measured incrementally as it happens, instead of in a summary by bill at the end of the month. Positively, a method to reduce consumption and therefore expenses.”

“The trendsetters are working to go off the grid, not more reliant on it. Big Brother is always looming and I question people's concern for privacy or what’s being captured without consent and then sold as ‘convenience.’”

“As the for-green initiatives increase (along with the demand that will spur its profitability), industry will place a focus on smart systems, and they will become a standard in households across the United States.”

“There is little or no benefit to households from using smart systems, and they are very time consuming.”

“Yet, by 2020, smart households will only exist for the upper-middle and upper classes. I foresee the gap between the haves and have-nots widening, unless society is willing to make vast improvement in the United States infrastructure—including schools. Only newer homes will be built with smart technologies, and less-affluent persons will not have the resources for such upgrades.”

“The connected household is sustainable.”

“I hope the first scenario is an accurate prediction of the future, but there should be safety protocols so errant devices (and results) do not penalize consumers.”

“In a world where efficiencies of scale are required in energy, consumables, and funding, society must learn and adapt smart systems in their lives.”

“In my honest opinion, neither is likely; I see the current slow evolution continuing.”

“This may be wishful thinking in terms of actual adoption/market penetration, but the technology will be there.”

“I’m not sure this will quite be here by 2020, but it will be close. At the Consumer Electronics Show in 2011, refrigerators and other appliances were showcased with Wi-Fi capabilities. People are striving for continued convenience, and with tablets becoming more prominent, it only seems like a matter of time before most things in your house are compatible with a variety of devices.”

“I don’t think the refrigerator will be sending me reminders to buy milk. There’s a level of triviality where this becomes a time-consuming gimmick.”

“It seems realistic.”

“The Home of the Future will look different, but will smart systems be smart enough?”

“Green tech will help propel more users towards smart grids, smart meters, and so forth, and QR codes, voice-recognition to Web, and network as a service in the cloud will all allow the monitoring of appliances, resource systems, kitchen pantries, and so forth.”

“It will happen only if vendors can buy in.”

“Smart systems in the home, office, schools, etc., will continue to expand and improve. It will stimulate greener energy efficiencies beyond what an individual can achieve. However, such advancement will require extensive structural retro-refitting, which may be very slow to realize without extensive federal government financial assistance.”

“Society is embracing smart systems, which is sad as personal perspective is not considered.”

“The complexity of the interconnectedness of devices will doom this in the next eight years. Maybe by 2030?”

“Most of these things are available today. Some will fail; some will succeed. But, overall, they will be more prevalent than they are today.”

“Infrastructure is the key here.”

“The issue here is the ‘last mile.’ New housing will have it built in, but will all of the existing housing, especially housing in poor zip codes? The cost and time of getting it all installed is prohibitive.”

“Cisco will be a household brand name for security. Places like Michigan will see population growth, as folks with smart-system homes in downstate cities can easily travel to the northern lower and upper peninsulas to unplugged vacation homes.”

“Technology is permeating our world. There are now vehicles that all but drive themselves and refrigerators that create our shopping list or even order groceries for us. It only makes sense that the next step is to create a more environmentally friendly means of managing other aspects of our lives. Smart systems may be exactly what we use to accomplish this.”

“By 2020 we’ll still be struggling with making our smart systems viable for average people.”

“No way. The crappy housing market won’t come back. We’re all broke!”

“Smart systems success depends on how widespread next-generation networks become.”

“The idea of smart systems is great but the economy of most people make this all a spectator sport. The Home of the Future will be for the people of economic advantage. The rest of us will be digital hopefuls, dreamers thinking about all of this but unable to participate.”

“With the economic downturn of the last few years that has affected not only the United States but Europe, too, I don’t think we’ll have the funds to do this by 2020. By 2030? Maybe. Wars are very expensive. Had we taken the money we’ve spent in the Middle East and invested it in our country and its people, and if economists had been paying attention to the sub-prime mortgage mess, we’d be in better shape today. We’re not as far along as we ought to be.”

“The existing level of privacy lost—as demonstrated by any call to a TV/HD provider for help with our most common smart-system TVs—will have to be able to afford such systems and understand the implications for personal privacy and integrity of the meaning of ‘home.’ The wiring is certainly possible, but that is a far cry from the necessary level of private spaces.”

“This might take a while.”

“There are too many old buildings to convert.”

“Let’s not be cynical here. The home of the present is much more efficient than that of yesteryear. Corporate greed on the other end of the electric supply stream is a major issue, but the individual homeowner always prefers a cheaper, better, smarter solution. Just look at the average refrigerator. At the same time we could just turn out the lights more often”

“Inertia in the real estate market and housing industry in general will also suppress the interest and desire for smart home technology.”

“It won’t happen by 2020 because of the lifespan of durable goods. The appliances that people have today they’ll still have in 10 years.”

“The smart home will come to fruition. I doubt that it will lead to saving households money. The big concern is infrastructure and whether it will be able to support the data needs.”

“Unfortunately, this is too good to be true. People still can’t do basic tasks like update an operating system or run a DVR.”

“For houses that are able to be connected to advanced monitor systems, they could, in fact, provide feedback to its dwellers. Technology is already in place in some hybrid cars that shows a driver how they can reduce their carbon emissions and improve gas millage, so it should be expected that this same system can be implemented in a house.”

“The Home of the Future won’t happen in only ten years. Perhaps by 2040 the smart house will be reality, but there won't be enough examples (even in the privileged North American world) in the time frame that scenario one envisions. Perhaps the green home with some smart features that are more sophisticated (smart thermostats, sensors that affect lighting, water-use reduction technologies) will be available to those with lots of money, but not for the masses. Sigh.”

“As a technology teacher, I see how difficult it is for people, even young people, to adopt some technologies. I worry that technology is developing too fast and that new gadgets offer too many features and that smart systems, regardless of how helpful they may or may not be, might not take hold because many people are just not comfortable enough with technology.”

“Well, perhaps it will not be a model of efficiency, but just as heat pumps and thermostats today drive energy efficiency, we will continue to move in the direction of smarter usage of resources. This may happen as a result of population and market forces: We will need to do more with less in a hot, flat, and crowded world. Smart will not diminish in its value: Our things will continue to think with and for us.”

“While Walt Disney forecasted his Home of the Future at the opening of Disney World in about 1954, the ‘KISS rule’ has made it really come to life. That is to say, ‘keep it simple stupid.’ Nanotechnology and single-pictured apps can indeed simplify the entire house and in an important way as we learn to apply the lessons learned in usage of all finite resources.”

“Two words regarding so-called predictions: ‘paperless’ ‘office.’ It didn’t happen, this won’t.”

“The only factor that could impede this progress is a lingering poor economy.”

“It will not be about trust, it will be about cost. Just like the energy-efficient light bulbs. We know we should use them, but they are too expensive up front to buy.”

“For the top 1%. If we survive, maybe it will ‘trickle down’ (joke—like in economics).”

“This will be possible, as long as each step in the smarting process is valuable for itself. Otherwise, it will be like for cars today, i.e., an increase of complexity with a rise in power needs.”

“I hope we’re better able to use resources. That would be extremely positive. And if we manage to get people to understand the energy crisis and our use of technology increases, then hopefully this is a positive outcome.”

“I see this as less of a trust issue and more of an economic issue. If the US economy remains in a funk (like Japan in the 1990s), the Home of the Future will look like today. Consumers need to be able to afford the technology.” 

“Some changes will have occurred, but not all by 2020.”

“Consolidation of stuff is already here. Phones/TV/Internet—one supplier.”

“Cost is the only obstacle.”

“This is something I hope happens.”

“People will come to realize the advantages of the electronic systems for conservation and the environment, and the time saved in their daily lives. The systems will be more secure, and an app-like model will be in place.”

“Current app users will adopt smart systems more readily. As long as the smart systems are easily accessible through an app on a handheld device, the usage of such technology will be good. Plus, highlighting the efficiencies, cost-savings, and convenience will help greatly in the adoption rate.”

“We have a PG&E Smart Meter. We haven’t gotten any information back at all. It is only smart for PG&E.”

“Another innovation that will probably not happen by 2020 because of the economy. Fewer investors in these systems and less consumer money to purchase them.”

“Based on the last forty years, I would not predict huge change by 2020. It is the direction we are moving, but we are not getting there as fast as some predict.”

“Option one will not happen. We are entering a phase in human history where worldwide population will make most natural resources so scarce that their costs will increase exponentially. No matter how hard we try, we won’t be able to create the technology to solve it fast enough. There are only several ways to stop this, none of which will happen: 1) Stop the increase in world population today (only a plague could do that). 2) Stop the use of fossil fuels today (and maybe this won’t even work). 3) The Rapture. (LOL. It would do us all good if this happened. All the idiots would be gone so we’d have less resistance to reason.) Big-picture thinking aside, yes, the home will be more efficient due to technology, but it will cost more for both the technologies and the natural resources.”

“Yes, smart systems are coming, but there won’t be that many truly connected households.”

“Smart systems are already a major part of our lives (in our cars, for instance), whether we know it or not. It must become an integral part of automation in order to spur advancement.”

“Alas, I think this is the more likely scenario, though progress toward a fully smart house will be much more along than the scenario suggests. It won’t have failed, but will be slower than in the first scenario for two reasons: the cost of retrofitting existing homes will not yet be low enough to demonstrate to homeowners that there’s a reasonable ROI, and many of the systems will not result in the level of efficiency that is currently expected.”

“Not everybody will have the Home of the Future, but it will be available to those who want it.”

“I think smart homes may take longer than 2020 because of the privacy issues. I think those are the drawbacks that need to be worked out, but I think eventually we will have smart homes, and it will be wonderful. I think it will help us preserve our world.”

“These systems need consumers with significant disposable income to play around with. It might be the case that middle-upper classes have homes that look different, but I don’t see this becoming any new standard.”

“There is no money in available society to cause the rapid implementation of smart systems at the typical household level. Have you not looked at the data on income gaps and poverty?”

“This will be true if there is adequate education of the public. People do not trust what they do not understand.”

“I do not see a lot of growth in this area—this change will be a long time coming.”

“If we can remove politics and greed from the picture, I really believe that by 2020, the household of the future will look and behave very different from today. Our recent acceptance of hybrid autos, green homes, and smaller-is-better technologies will continue to be accepted as the desired norm by today’s youth.”

“Not by then. Give it another fifty years. Older houses need to be changed. People may not have the money to upgrade to these devices. New houses may have these, but we all do not live in new houses—thank goodness.”

“As people become more into recycling and understanding how the Earth’s resources are not replenishable, we will be seeing more and more uses of technology to slow this process down.”

“Some people will take advantage of smart systems, but most will not. The best you can hope for is a thirty- to fifty-year cycle of slow adoption. Even this is optimistic.”

“As we understand more, we can be more efficient.”

“Smart systems installed by utilities to control energy will work, but smart systems installed by homeowners to control appliances, locks, etc., will fail. That’s because the quality of consumer appliances will continue to plummet, with dishwashers, washing machines, etc., becoming flimsier and flimsier.”

“This will be true for some, but it will be highly stratified by income and education level. Low-income areas, public housing, etc., will not be able to absorb the cost. Another important consideration is accessibility for seniors and those with disabilities, low reading ability, etc. It would be tragic if something as simple as turning on the lights required understanding a user interface!”

“Although I believe we will continue to see progress in ‘green’ initiatives on the home front, the money to make such improvements affordable to adopt for many families just isn’t there yet. The progress will be slow. Money put into educational programs will help future generations grow up believing in the value of implementing these systems, and in time they will be adopted in an ‘organic’ method—much like anti-smoking campaigns have taken decades to see results in the real world.”

“People will not have the money available to invest in this, even if they trust and desire it.”

“Corporate dominance in this area is dangerous. If smart systems become the future, it will come against the consumers’ desired choice.”

“This is already reality. The power company recently installed a digital meter in our house that sends usage data via radio signal back to the company. It also allows us to figure our own usage right at the meter. The Home of the Future is closer than we know. Option one is clearly the future. The consumer distrust is not based in the complexities but in the lack of confidence that companies will protect the data they collect. Protecting customers’ data from all threats internal and external needs to be a higher priority, and companies need to do a better job at reporting data theft and theft mitigation. Companies must be required by law to report all incidents of data theft or other intrusion. Industry policing cannot be trusted. Too often the public is not informed of a breach until long after the event has happened.”

“The drive to decrease energy consumption and reverse climate change will spur the introduction of smart grids and smart systems. These likely will be mandated by governments just as safety and health regulations are imposed today—for our own good.”

“Simple economics will drive smart systems adoption.”

“This is about two things: a large system that is currently mostly corporeal (i.e., not ethereal and online) and a sagging economy. In parts of Germany, I’m sure this will happen if it’s not happening already.”

“This probably will happen several years after 2020. When a new technology has to be embedded within older infrastructures the costs go up and user conservatism increases. But economics will drive us in this smart system direction sooner or later.”

“I can only hope that smart systems are fully integrated in everyday life. They could definitely have a huge positive impact on our lives.”

“Big Brother is watching. We have already seen the upset of consumers over tracking information from the use of smart devices. Will households want everything available to anyone with the money to purchase? I think most will opt out.”

“Again, people will do what is easiest and what saves the most money. We have already seen a great deal of evidence from the social networking world that many people are more than happy to give up privacy and security for what they want.”

“The capacity of technology, our desire for cheapness, our fondness for gadgets, and our gnawing concern about the environment will finally get together by 2020 to push us over the edge to the Home of the Future.”

“I do see increases in the development of smart systems. I see this as happening primarily in the home entertainment and possibly security spaces and not in the core infrastructure areas. I view this more as one of a lack of incentive rather than one dealing with complexities or consumer trust. The average consumer is more interested in investing in something to make her life easier or more entertaining than one that makes it more efficient. This is also due to the fact that only those consumers with not-inconsiderable discretionary income can make the investment. There are no incentives for home builders or building managers to invest in these technologies.”

“The future has often been mispredicted, and I think this attempt to save the environment and money will actually make our country go into greater debt and make the environment worse because it will be built and used in the wrong way.”

“More and more appliances and home systems can be controlled remotely. Major barriers that must be overcome will be ensuring security and the protection of any data that customers would deem sensitive. Ease of use will also be critically important.”

“The goal of the connected household is a wonderful target but I doubt that either consumer trust or the items with embedded Internet connectivity can be put in place in that span of time.”

“Each one of these will be true in some areas of the country. William Gibson’s comment, ‘The future is already here—it’s just unevenly distributed,’ is the primary reason I think this. I don’t see the connections being retrofitted into most older housing (look at how long it took to get plumbing into many older houses, and how many houses from the early part of the 20th century still exist). New homes will have a lot more connectedness, but I don’t see the older ones being remodeled. How much of an economic incentive would there have to be to get this to happen?”

“Tell me, how many homes in your neighborhood have solar panels? Hybrid cars? Rain barrels? Compact fluorescent lamps? These changes are expensive and homes have a finite amount of resources. Nine years is too short a time frame to expect mass change in the domestic sphere.”

“I chose the second scenario, not because I don’t believe in the technology, but because I don’t believe people will be able to afford it. It will not be a priority for the majority of us.”

“The second is more likely in this time-span. Likely true, though, by 2050 if the components can become sufficiently reliable (and given how my local electric company screws up I wouldn’t bet on it soon).”

“The idea of smart systems sounds appealing to me as it does to their supporters—researchers, environmental activists/advocates, political leaders, and so forth. However, I do not think people will trust the systems, in part due to publicized failures to date, but I am also concerned about the large number of people losing homes now and the large number of persons housed in apartments or other shared units for which there is likely no or limited opportunity to build smart systems in them. Also, the fact that unemployment is 9.1% (and that doesn’t track with underemployment and differences across races and regions), it is anticipated that it will be years before we are out of this mess, and thus few resources to build/remodel into the future without major government or private incentives to do so. Just to have a home in the future will be an accomplishment.”

“The second scenario mainly because the individual homeowner, on average, is simply not engaged enough or aware enough of how to use such systems to enable them to provide the hoped-for outcomes. Let’s remember that most people don’t know where their water comes from, or where it goes when it is flushed, or the nature of their electricity or how to use it now. Adding technological complexity without basic understanding of the things being manipulated is useless and confusing, and people will not be able to use such technological advances adequately.”
“It is coming, but even more slowly than many would suggest.”
“I definitely think we will trend that way and fast, especially with the ecological sustainability pushes.”
“Some people still have a flashing 12:00 on their microwave. Anything that needs human interaction will be fraught with problems. To the degree that systems are self-diagnosing and auto-controlled, they will succeed.”

“Some households will definitely model a connected or smart home image in ten or so years from now, but no telling how many will actually make the change.”

“Smart systems will continue to be implemented and a necessary component of living in the future and the future of our quality of life.”

“Commercialization of resource consumption and environmental savings will bring the use of these technologies forward, encouraging more individuals and households to become more efficient and conscious of energy conservation that can be attained.”

“Too many leaks of data protection and other sets have already shaken confidence. People’s private data is being left on the trains, Sony had its credit card data hacked for millions of its users. Facebook has been bucking the trend, but even now there is a backlash against them and people finally deciding to remain connected but not sharing. They still retain a connection but offline. Once trust is lost, it is very difficult to restore. Our digital lives are complicated enough with commercial ventures destroying that confidence. When the government bungles it, we don’t have a choice, but our confidence is even lowered when they mangle it up.”

“The spate of hackings in the past few months has increased the distrust of people towards the Internet and towards any devices that could be hacked. Also, most high-tech devices are also high-priced, meaning that adoption rates would be lower, especially under the continuing global recession.”

“The technology is there, and over the next decade it will become more affordable for most households.”

“Time has shown that change takes longer than we think. Just go back and look at the Disneyland and Epcot displays. Some of the features did come to fruition—but not as quickly as we thought. I’m still waiting for my flying car.”

“I’m torn between these two answers, but I think that we’re headed in the direction of smart systems. I’m just not sure we’ll have them by 2020.”

“Different name, same result. Human beings act in certain ways, adopting what they will, when they will, often in fits and starts. Also, users will be concerned to see that a malevolent force (big corporations, big government, hackers) cannot invade their homes. As such, adoption of these systems will be isolated.”

“Unless the economic crisis is resolved, many Americans will not be able to afford the technologies. I also maintain that privacy will be a contributing factor as to why consumers will not implement technology that could become invasive, monitoring everything consumers do within their homes.”

“2020 is not that far off. I think it will take longer to integrate useful smart systems.”

“We need to save scarce resources.”

“Consumers will trust smart systems. The question will be whether our economy will recover sufficiently enough to support smart systems for all. If poverty grows and your refrigerator is empty, it won’t much matter if it talks to you or not.”

“2020 is way too soon for this. I barely have wireless in my rural home in Massachusetts, the land of Harvard University and MIT. The western part of the state, the Berkshires, barely has any connectivity. I cannot imagine the lack of connectivity in other states where higher education and technology jobs are not as much of a presence.”

“So-called smart homes will fail due to missing trust, safety, and privacy issues.”

“Yes, the smart systems trend will continue, especially if there are financial reasons to adopt new smart services and save money.”

“The implementation of smart meters for electricity has been hampered by the utility companies’ restrictive terms of service and some unusual weather patterns in 2011 that have resulted in more frequent or longer-than-expected power/appliance ‘throttling.’ It will take a number of years to overcome the poor experiences of early adopters, which may involve utilities rethinking the terms of their contracts with consumers.”

“I don’t see any reason to believe that failed attempts to create digital homes will improve in the future.”

“2020 is way too soon for the widespread use of household smart devices. Given our current economic difficulties, there will simply be too few Americans who will be able to afford the upfront investment.”

“Things will go slowly, not so much because of lack of trust but lack of technological competence. It takes a borderline electrician/technician/engineer to set these things up. I don’t think the majority of the population can afford this stuff or will prioritize it. Sort of something reserved for the DIY and tech geek crowd.”

“In the past, we could check our consumption by looking at our bills. Now we will be able to use an app. Is that really that much progress?”

“It will take longer than we think. Not because of trust, but because of cost. There will always be early adopters of technology, but getting that out to the mass public is much more difficult. I am a strong believer in renewable energy. There is nothing I would like more than getting some solar panels on my roof. Even with all the potential tax breaks and subsidies, I simply cannot afford it. I have a good job, but my child needed a laptop to go to college. The One Laptop Per Child  didn’t cut it. Solar panels have been put off another few years. I would love to make my home smart. But instead I spend time putting bandages on what I have so that the old technology keeps working. I may not be representative, but maybe I am.”

“This may be limited to more affluent, newly-constructed homes.”

“I don’t think consumer trust is a problem, but co-operation between the producers of domestic devices is. And their struggle for benefits, one over the other, will confuse the consumer.”

“If it can be proven to save money quickly, it will be adapted. Desperate homeowners stuck with mortgages that are far more than the actual value of their home will take any option they can.”

“I totally agree with scenario two. Why should I pay a lot more for a refrigerator with IP and smart technologies to tell me I am out of milk when I can simply open the door and stare into the abyss?”

“The 2020 home will have more technology and more networking, but also more complexity, akin to the mess of wires behind every home theater installation.”

“I am a big fan of advanced home technologies. On a personal note, I keep up with the development of sustainable ‘prefab’ home architecture (DWELL), for instance, which incorporates many advanced, efficient concepts. I have no doubt these innovative ideas will only become more prevalent in time as their success stories are reported more broadly in the media.”

“There is so much in-place infrastructure, so changes will take place over a longer period unless there is a significant investment by others to drive an acceleration of the adoption of these technologies. Look at how long the transition has taken to get to digital cable from broadcast TV. Huge timelines.”

“It will be driven by consumer demand for better efficiency and energy savings. I do not believe manufactures will lead the charge—it will have to be driven by demand.”

“If tax incentives or financial incentives are in place and the technology is accessible, people will work to find any way to make their homes more efficient.”

“I just don’t buy it. I keep picturing the enormously obese people in the spaceship in Wall-E, who have no reason to lift a finger, and I cannot imagine people want to live this way. The more ‘systems’ you have, the more that can go wrong that you yourself cannot fix. There are folks who know how to fix their plumbing, electrical issues, etc., but not many are going to be able to take something apart and fiddle with a sensor or a chip. I sound like a luddite.”

“The Home of the Future will still be far away in 2020. It is not so much consumer trust or device complexities, but the hurdle of retrofitting existing homes. In addition, a number of the new smart systems (such as SchlageLink) will require subscriptions instead of being offered as independent entities. I personally have no objection to the latter but a great deal of objection to the former (that is, I don’t want to pay every month for the ability to be able to open my front door remotely).”

“Lack of trust may not be a barrier, but adoption due to potential extra costs may be.”

“This will happen slowly.”

“We have an overstock of housing. That means we’re not building new housing where it would make sense to upgrade utility systems like this. While this may be the future, our surplus of housing in the next many years will keep it from developing as quickly.”

“Environmentally correct homes are the future, and if we don’t learn to conserve, our planet will not survive.”

“I’d like to think that the first is true, but I wonder if it will ever be inexpensive enough that most people will be able to achieve this. I think it could be a reality if the price is a good match for most people’s incomes. (Hard to think this will be true when there seem to be so many people living in cars these days.)”

“I am hopeful it will be the former rather than the latter. I think the majority of consumers will embrace smart systems, providing they are cost effective and easy to use.”

“Based on the rhetoric we hear about the smart gas and electric meters that are being installed locally, I think that many folks are not ready for what they perceive to be the Big Brother effect of IP-enabled appliances. However, by 2030, things will change because the upcoming generation doesn't think twice about privacy and security.”

“Already there are major advances in smart grids and other systems that will enable significant energy savings, and these should continue to advance to smart homes of the future.”

“For the enlightened, I really believe this is going to happen. A former IBM and GE employee, I have seen concepts float across the TV screen (i.e., ‘Smart Planet’ and ‘Imagination’) that we talked about decades ago. I’m excited because this is a user-friendly idea that I feel will gain force and acceptance by those who can.”

“These are relatively cheap efficiency gains. Coupled with government mandates for higher efficiency, manufacturers will have no choice but to implement smart systems in their products, especially when considering the costs to do so will be minuscule.”

“A segment of the population will adopt the smart home/efficiency model, but because of cost, adoption will be limited. While privacy and conductivity are major issues, cost and proprietary software will limit the adoption.”

“Households will have increasingly many smart devices, but rather than these all being integrated into a single smart system they are more likely to simply provide householders with feedback that they then need to act upon to make changes. Both because of trust, and because systems will not be interoperable, the smart house will not be self-regulating, but will give its householder more information for them to be able to regulate. Energy companies and others will push the use of these technologies—but in practice only some households will use them to improve their energy consumption without external pressure (e.g., regulation/far higher oil prices/etc.).”

“There has to be a shift in understanding, values, and everyday living for this to truly happen.”

“I am not so sure cost savings will drive smart systems on the consumer front so much as convenience and security. Energy, water, and food will need to cost more before this will become a factor.”

“I think this will happen eventually, but not by 2020.”

“The train has left this station. Producers and sellers of resources must help customers manage consumption—consumers will demand it.”

“Individuals will want smart systems to work, so they’ll want to trust them. If these prove beneficial, such trust will emerge. If they don’t, which is likely, it won’t.”

“If it saves consumers money, they will be glad to help save the environment.”

“It will happen, but this will not result in household savings, rather the elimination of dead loss in pricing by allowing providers to stratify their markets. Don’t worry, though. The way the economy is going, only the very few at the top will be able to afford these services.”

“I think it is happening, but I do see trust as an issue—not in the sense mentioned in scenario number two (complexity), but in that people will fear loss of privacy of details about their use of energy and so on.”

“Future smart homes will be more efficient, as long as there are no computer glitches or crashes. One thunderstorm and your smart house will fall dumb.”

“The challenge of getting the infrastructure to this point—and synching up a wide variety of systems, appliances, etc.—will not take place by 2020. By that date, such systems might be employed by the wealthy in relatively new houses, especially McMansions, where energy consumption may be a big issue. I also believe trust issues will impede widespread adoption by that date.”

“The main smart successes in smart systems seem to be television-related. Not impressed.”

“It is inevitable that our homes will resemble the futuristic homes we see in the media involving voice-activated and self-regulating technologies. In fact, our engineers and marketers will strive to make this become a reality as quickly as possible.”

“Innovation of this sort will take more than a decade, especially if one is referring to mass accessibility to millions of homes lower than the top 1%.”

“I see progress in this direction as slow, expensive, and not universally embraced. Perhaps further into the future this will be the norm, but for the next decade we will still be problem solving and determining the benefits.”

“Sadly, I think this is the more realistic choice, despite wanting the first one to be true. Having grown up watching The Jetsons on TV and realizing none of the transportation opportunities presented in these stories, I doubt that wide use of technology in homes of 2020 will occur. People change slowly and technology offers much more than older generations can comprehend in a lifetime. I watch people buy smart phones just because they are ‘hip’ and then use them like a phone. We will eventually realize a greater connected household, but it will take much more time.”

“Rewiring homes will not happen this quickly.”

“I am pessimistic about this advancement because of the money people would need to spend to get their homes fully on smart systems before 2020.”

“‘Connected households’ will grow, but not as rapidly as many expect, until security and privacy issues are effectively addressed—and for the time-being the technology industry is not serious enough about addressing these issues and is in denial about how devastating breaches can and will be. On the other hand, there will be continued innovations that will add to convenience and, more importantly, to energy conservation. But these innovations are likely to become increasingly concentrated in a smaller segment of society as the gap between the wealthy and powerful and the ‘99%’ grows.”

“Ya, ya, ya order me milk and bring it to my door.”

“This has possibilities. We are too trusting in general, so I don’t see that as being a real barrier.”

“It will happen, but not in the time frame allotted.”

“Connected systems will absolutely be used to make homes more efficient and comfortable. Progress, as always, will be slow. The Home of the Future will always be a moving target, three to five years away.”

“Companies are doing a great job in smartening systems. There are different types of societies and families ready to adapt it. There will not be a problem with the systems themselves. The problems will arise from cultural aspects more.”

“By 2020, no big progress has been made in the smartification of households. This is mostly due to increasing costs that effective and trustful smart systems need. People cannot afford more information and communications technologies in their homes, and public finances cannot provide any effective incentives to change or improve the way houses are designed and built.”

“The economics of embedding IP-enabled devices may play a much larger role in how this scenario unfolds than consumer trust. In addition, people may feel that this kind of ‘management’ could lead to control by other entities over their personal use of resources.”

“The complexity and unreliability of smart systems combined with the cost will continue to inhibit the wide spread adoption of automatic technologies in the home. However, we will see more embedded smart technologies in household appliances and tools. These will be mostly invisible, though (e.g., smart meters).”

“Appliance makers will not jump on the bandwagon because it makes the products too expensive and the adoption is too slow. See electric cars.”

“No one’s figured out how to do much usefully with home automation/monitoring. We will go a long way before some code acts like the butler of yore.”

“Some systems being introduced now already have a basis in some current systems in Europe and Asia. People will find these desirable and be ready to invest (when they have money to invest) in them. Point-of-use hot water systems and by-the-room HVAC systems are just two examples. Many Americans will have experienced these systems overseas and be willing adapters. With these as examples, people will be more ready to embrace new technologies aimed at the same goal. This will not readily adapt to the way American homes are currently built. These systems will have to be adapted or American home patterns will necessarily change to accommodate the technologies. Open spaces and large window areas are definitely a challenge. The baby-boomer generation has aged. I see the success of the smart systems as hinging on adoption by this group as they search for mobility and other solutions to the challenges of aging.”

“It is too soon to expect that much change.”

“It will be adopted more readily in new homes rather than existing ones.”

“Complications with systems will continue to be a problem, but, as the computer power to manage these systems becomes a part of every cell phone, there will be greater adoption. Economics will drive the use of such devices as energy costs continue to climb.”

“1) The new housing market is overbuilt. 2) The cost of retrofitting a home will remain expensive. 3) This assumes you have a home.”

“It is a stretch to think that the Web will control every household.”

“I do not believe the connected household will fail at all. It is only a matter of time before every device in a household is connected, but nine years is not enough time.”

“The IP [Internet protocol] and communication complexities of implementing smart systems in older homes will be a continuing problem for years to come.”

“The current economic climate and slow recovery makes it seem unlikely that many will have the ability to upgrade their homes with these smart systems.”

“The drivers of the IP-enabled devices will be companies trying to learn more about users and their habits. They will get the devices into the homes. They will not be miraculous, but they will help consumers save time and other resources.”

“I am not totally sure this will happen in next ten years but I definitely see this sometime in the next twenty or so years.”

“Again, 2030 to 2040. It will take a lot of time to get smart metres and other smart infrastructure installed, and to make it transparent and comfortable. You’re changing deep habits of everyday life. But its advantages are pretty overwhelming. So it will happen, just slowly.”

“2020 homes will be safer, energy efficient by using smart systems; however, it depends on how well and how fast is this system implemented.”

“The challenge in rolling out IP-enabled devices thus far have not been consumer trust or ease of use, but in the inability of the relevant companies to collaborate, and in the intense price sensitivity of the consumer electronics business. If the power companies and consumer electronics companies refuse to agree on and implement an interoperable standard, then the smart home can’t even get started. Given that no one company can do this on its own, only a larger organization (e.g., a government or trade organization, perhaps a major tech player such as Google, Apple, or Microsoft) could make this happen. This has been the case for a few decades. The reasons that it might happen over the next decade are that the cost of electronics has dropped so that it becomes a cheaper ‘feature’ to add, and the perceived value of ‘green’ efficiency has gone up, and if both of those trends continue, they could drive the consumer electronics companies to actually implement IP-enabling of consumer electronics.”

“Let’s not create HAL, please. Allow for human freedom, with optimization. Creativity and the dynamic human spirit mimic the very spirit of creativity. Rigidity is optimal, in the moment, but often optimization comes from taking two steps back, and finding yourself able to take five steps forward after, whereas before you would have only been able to take the two steps forward and another one and another one, equaling four, where the two back brought you one ahead of the continual run forward.”

“We will have networked houses and be able to manage our home lives through technology. We already can, it will simply become more mainstream. I do, however, believe it will likely look different than however futuristically we envision it.”

“We will have something in between. Smart systems will gain entry to homes. How widely they are adopted depends on if we can make them effortless to use, with a convincing cost-benefit ratio.”

“These are both right. Some homes in some places will be connected with the benefits cited. Some will be connected without the benefits cited. Some will not be connected, or connected only in part. Some housing stock (even in the United States) is over 200 years old; some is brand new. Similarly, some components are over 200 years old; some are brand new. There are still homes in the United States without indoor plumbing or electricity, let alone broadband. The picture will be very mixed.”

“IPv6 [Internet protocol version 6] is the reality. Of course, it has to combine with a RFID [radio frequency identification] mechanism, like a sixteen-digit code, that can tie up with a root server for a family or a company, with each individual having tied up to an unique RFID.”

“Resource optimization and increased energy costs will make this a required feature of every facility.”

“The rich will have smart systems and the poor will do it the old-fashioned way.”

“Positives: The approach to managing costs by containing carbon footprint has already emerged in organizations, private and public. Many colleges are using technology to manage the costs of electricity, in particular, and the trade-offs with solar. Keeping costs down for individuals and organizations will drive this movement. Utility companies are starting to offer this service. Grays: The technology might not be IP-enabled, smarts keeps getting smaller, so network-enabled devices might not be necessary. Negatives: The idea of smart houses has been oversold since Disney. All resources will not and should not be managed this way. The idea of consumption of food being managed makes me queasy.”

“I don’t think ten years is a long enough period for this to happen—given the expense involved for consumers and the current economic climate people are less likely to upgrade appliances unnecessarily. In another twenty years perhaps”

“Smart devices for the home will lead people to make better choices, monitor their behavior, and manage their affairs more efficiently, saving money and time.”

“There are too many potential points of failure, as shown by the controversy over smart meters. Not just technical failures (including interference with other devices), but usability failures, transparency failures, etc. People have a great need for a sense of control, especially during crisis. To the extent that we face increased crises—environmental, financial, etc.—people will be increasingly resistant to any technology that appears to take away control (and more attracted to that which creates even the illusion of control).”

“I hoped that with the possibilities of cross-platform performance and the creation of body- and voice-enabled/controlled systems, the Home of the Future would be pretty likely. But that can only happen after a significant failure of proprietary systems. By 2020, the systems won’t be designed to simplify the process for homeowners, and there will be no significant change to resource consumption and management. I do think the home will be one of the first things to get significant management through computing because of the emphasis on electronic device systems as maximizers of comfort/convenience/pleasure in the United States; I just think it will take much longer than ten years from now to happen. In twenty to thirty years, after the initial failure of proprietary systems that must play nicely with each other in just the right configuration, one computer system will control the whole house and manage resources through apps (i.e., ‘I have an iHouse’ or ‘Are you in a Windows home?’).”

“Well, hmmm, I think this needs careful coordination—we’ve just had smart electricity meters installed but they don't communicate with the national broadband network being rolled out. We have a way to go with this. Also social research constantly shows that people want life to be simpler, yet everything that’s manufactured is more complex than its predecessor. I’m over reading a forty-page manual for a new phone, don’t make me do it for the toaster!”

“A week ago I would have answered this differently, my response colored by the lousy roll-out that PG&E did of smart meters in the Bay Area. But I’ve just heard about the new smart thermostats being developed by a start-up born out of Apple, and it sounds like these folks have it right. They might just bring the Apple magic of coolness to the arena and reinvigorate the idea. I am cautiously optimistic.”

“It is more likely than not, but the ever-increasing number of household gadgets is likely to mean resource consumption is higher.”

“By 2020, those people who are tech savvy and have lots of money to spend on wiring their houses will push their homes to the 22nd century. However, most homes will not because it is not in the practices of building developers to install these smart systems into homes. People will still want to live in cheap homes given an option. There are also irrational fears about electromagnetic fields and EM waves causing health issues, so this will keep people from buying homes with these features. Like intercom systems in homes, they will quickly become obsolete and yelling across a room is faster and more in line with everyday human behavior and practices.”

“Illinois has just approved a smart grid—if that state can ‘modernize,’ any state can.”

“Smarter homes are the future as they enable better cost savings, power management, security, and convenience. It is unclear if the net impact is more stuff/activity or better for the environment.”

“Maybe not by 2020, but this will happen.”

“More people + less fossil fuels = energy efficiency is necessary.”

“Trust, trust, and more trust. Do you trust your utility? Do you trust the government? Heck, I don’t even trust you with this survey. This is the outcome of ‘Bowling Alone.’ Nobody trusts the institutions we’ve inherited, and we trust the ones we’ve made ourselves even less.”

“I do believe smart systems will increase in ubiquity. I also see energy consumption skyrocketing, possibly becoming a crisis.”

“I suspect that smart systems will come to be more commonplace than not. I can’t see that this has major implications—except that such systems are just ‘one more thing to break.’”

“This is definitely going to happen. Adoption of smart systems is already on the upswing. When people can combine the convenience of remote access to features of their homes and will be able to be more energy efficient, thereby saving money, the adoption will grow even more.”

“The key here will be to come up with services—largely based on machine-to-machine linked sensors—that offer real value to consumers, including energy savings but also avoiding dangerous short circuits in a smart electrical system at home fed by sensors or the break down of an appliance (like a dishwasher) that could flood a home. New homes will almost certainly incorporate more and more of these technologies. The challenge will be in retrofitting existing, and mobile technologies will help immensely on this front.”

“Consumer tech services haven’t yet become successful home utility services. 2020 will disappoint for this evolution.”

“While interest in the environment and saving resources will continue to grow, our infrastructure will take longer to redevelop with smart systems than 2020.”

“Low-wage growth, institutional support, and the environmental movement will continue to drive smart systems adoption.”

“There is a distrust, but as more and more of our neighbors convert with nothing terrible happening to them, our households will become more efficient models of environment friendly consumption.”

“I view this as one of the positive areas for the use of new digital technologies. Most people will adopt smart technologies in their homes, and for good reason: They are timesavers and remove at least some of the drudgery associated with everyday life. This is an example of an area where the adoption of new technologies can really shine, without too much evidence of negative effects. (Except possibly in the area of exercise/obesity—less drudgery may mean less exercise and hence poorer health—but I view this as the result of personal choice. After all, if one spends less time on basic home tasks, one has more time to go to the gym!)”

“It probably will happen, but scientifically rosy futures have always been greatly exaggerated. Hopefully by 2020 we will learn to design for obsolesce. What happens when all the devices in your smart home are superseded by the next generation OS or processing hardware? How many times can you afford a new suite of every mechanical device in the house?”

“It will happen—but it is the degree to which it will happen by 2020 that gives me pause. A digital divide in this field would be especially hurtful.”

“It will happen, I just think it will take longer than nine years to reach critical mass.”

“If we look at the rate of change in consumer goods from the 1950s to now, the same sorts of goods inhabit our home—perhaps swap out a radio for a computer, and we’re similar. Trust is an issue with smart systems, also compelling design will play into consumer need for these sorts of systems. We may see incremental advances, much like we’ve seen with cars adding GPS, assisted parking, intelligent crash avoidance.”

“There is an ongoing struggle with RFID and smart-meter technology regarding the enormous amounts of data collected by these devices. IP-enabled devices may provide patterns of behavior—absence or presence in a residence—that could allow a sophisticated thief to access digital records of high electricity use or how frequently a digital TV system is used. Patterns of device usage may provide intelligence on how and when a home is occupied. Personal data is usually linked to these devices along with account and bank information. The risks would be perceived as too great and the costs excessive without attractive monetary incentives to allow a utility to provide these devices and the device manufacturers to enable their products to revolutionize the traditional home to a digital castle. Harm-based intrusions would rise and the ability to counter such intrusions would be challenged by rapid shifts in cybersecurity paradigms to protect infrastructure.”

“I’m a Philip K. Dick fan (he wrote about this), so I don’t believe I can give an unbiased answer.”

“The whole notion of widespread adoption of smart-system homes seems, to me, to be predicated on a deep ignorance about wealth inequality in America. Without a massive government program, huge segments of American society would, for economic or political reasons, or both, have no inclination to switch to such an automated system. Such a program appearing very unlikely considering the deficit, the widespread adoption of smart systems seems even more far-fetched. If the question was referring not strictly to America but the entire world then the answer is the same, only more so.”

“See also: the Jetsons’ flying car and the hover board. I’m guessing a smart system will let me turn on my living room lights from my phone when I’m in Paris. Guess what? I can’t afford a trip to Paris, my phone wouldn’t even work there, and in 2020 people aren't going to have enough money to install these things.”

“The construction industry hasn’t really grabbed the technology due to pricing and the fact a large percentage of small contractors aren’t as literate or technology savvy as the others, and training isn’t available to them to use and understand at a pricing level they take advantage of.”

“I’m currently living in an area of Canada where smart meters are being installed everywhere despite some objections. Over time, more and more people will see the benefits of smart systems, especially in the world of declining and increasingly expensive natural resources.”

“Some progress will have occurred in smart homes, but due to the massive scale of change required, far more than eight years will be needed.”

“As a society we have dreamed of this for decades. In reality, other issues of governance, innovation, and finance will delay this even longer.”

“I envision the future scenario to lie somewhere in the middle. Some smart-home systems will come into widespread use, particularly those that assist the utility providers to better manage their users’ experiences, yet, I find it hard to imagine a utopian smart home to be mainstream.”

“As soon as smart management of resources will save significant amounts of money, it will be widely adopted. People like to understand what they are paying for and to be in control. Look at the current anger over complex credit card agreements and bank fees—once people know how the system works they very carefully try to control them, especially if their hard-earned money is involved.”

“People love shiny, easy things. If these shiny, easy things are sustainable then they will win. I think these systems, combined with gamification, IP-enabling, and a greater shift towards pro-green products will mean greater adoption of smart systems. The eco-home building competition on the National Mall is a great signal for what’s coming. And anything that saves costs (for homeowners and electric companies) should catch.”

“The fallacy here is that you must overcome the sunk costs to retrofit homes and devices, and that process will not have reached a majority of homes by 2020.”

“Retrofitting homes would be key to achieving this, and that’s not happening. Most systems are designed for newly built homes. Most people live in already-built homes.”

“Smart systems hold tremendous promise in enabling better management of economic and physical resources, but 2020 is too near-term for these systems to create fundamental change in human and organizational behavior. Consumers will continue to show reluctance to cede control of decisions to software. Still, smart systems by 2020 will be able to provide important information, which may enable consumers to make more informed choices. On the whole, however, this trend will need more time to evolve and to be a significant influence on human behavior.”

“We as a society are already so close to this possibility now. In the near future more homes will be built to be more environmentally friendly and economically efficient.”

“I see smart systems becoming a reality in 2020 and changing the way homes work and evolve.”

“The mass market doesn’t care, doesn’t have the time, and doesn’t have the inclination to understand how to utilize this technology. Take a look around Google Power Meter, Microsoft Hohm, and a collection of many other product development companies. Shouting at your kids to turn out their light or close the front door is more cost effective.”

“There won’t be many changes in ten years for the consumer. But I do envision changes for enterprises that take advantage of technology to manage consumption of their resources (electricity, water, food, even bandwidth) in ways that place less of a burden on the environment and save companies money. Some of the earlier consumer smart solutions to control household resources (such as XC-10), had limited functionality and were incompatible with other proprietary systems, limiting their use.”

“Environment makes no profit for corporations—why would they work on this?”

“I would love to believe this could happen so soon, but I don’t think it will be realized. Some major shifts in society and our culture would have to occur for our citizens to take these issues seriously, and as a result, change the way they live. The government must invest in these kinds of ideas and move forward towards implementing these kinds of ideas and making them a reality.”

“These tools take simple everyday things like turning on a light switch way more complicated than they need to be. The only real use I can see for this is for disabled people.”

“We have a very long way to go toward the Home of the Future system. I would like to be more optimistic about this, but I look at my own experience of having a fairly tech-savvy household and enough money to make purchases of systems and appliances but we are nowhere close to doing this. There are many, many people who don’t have the interest, time, or money to make this work. It will take a major investment and have to show some pretty good payouts to garner the interest it needs.”

“More people are beginning to realize the benefits of green technologies. As they become more practically affordable, more people and local governments will embrace them. Smart systems will never get as complex or terrifying as that Tom Cruise movie Minority Report. We will destroy the technology before it ever comes to that. We will not be living like the Jetsons by 2020. However, in the future, some of the convenience of life will come into more homes. Automatic on/off lighting, for example, will be a common feature. It will be as ubiquitous as temperature control in a home or office.”

“Smart systems will create a different and much larger digital divide.”

“There isn’t nearly enough wealth for this to happen in the short term. Closer and closer, especially for the guilty wealthy class.”

“Everything will have smart systems, but not until 2040 will their usefulness be realized because of the learning curve.”

“The Home of the Future incorporates many tools to aid in household and environmental efficiency. However, it does make me nervous to see my green grass showing up on Google maps and envision that someone else may someday restrict my choices on uses and consumption of resources like water.”

“I don’t think it’s an issue of a lack of trust; it’s the expense! I can’t afford for my house to be that smart, and I don't think I’ll be able to in 2020 either.”

“Changes to the basics of human habitation move very, very slowly. No significant changes will be noted.”

“Most attempts to conserve only create more problems. For example, we are all being forced to move to the energy efficient light bulbs, but no one has figured out yet how to dispose of those properly. One problem solved, but another created.”

“Hell, people can’t even stay in their homes these days, much less make them smart. I saw this concept the first time at the Seattle World's Fair in the 1960s. Until our culture and society solve the problems of inequality and poverty, smart systems will remain the domain of only a few, and then only with limited applications.”

“No matter how good the technology, cultural bias will trump smart systems. I would guess little will change in the next decade in making the Home of the Future. For one thing, we have built more houses than we need, and it is difficult to envision why new homes of any kind will be built until the present glut is overcome. Given our present lack of economic vitality, it seems unlikely any new models of homes will be purchased.”

“When I was a child, I toured the Monsanto House of the Future at Disneyland. I remember the ‘magic’ box that you could put food into and that it would cook it in a matter of minutes. I didn’t imagine that I would ever have such a box (or that it would even exist), but I have a microwave oven. Why wouldn’t I expect a house with smart systems?”

“There is too much of an installed base of existing homes that will not be cheaply retrofitted for this to occur by 2020.”

“Cybersecurity will be essential to this becoming a reality.”

“When cash registers crash, store sales grind to a halt. Even younger people have trouble programming DVRs. The dream of the Home of the Future will not be realized due to complexity, cost, and unreliability.”

“I see this happening more and more, but the existence of older homes will hold it back for a long time. Until old houses are torn down and replaced this will only exist in newer areas. There is also a monetary factor since not everyone can afford it no matter how cool it is.”

“Again, smart systems, the Home of the Future will come to pass for several reasons, not the least of which is to save energy or ration out short supply items until a replacement is found.”

“If the time frame were 2040, I would go with the first scenario.”

“Neither answer really fits. More smart systems—used mainly to do things like time-of-day pricing, resulting in higher charges (benefits will accrue to providers, not consumers).”

“The Jetsons scenario is farther away than 2020. The economy will still be lagging then and people will not be able to afford it.”

“People will not trust sending information about their personal habits to data repositories that they do not know or trust.”

“There will always be early adopters, and things like DirecTV apps or home alarm apps are a leading indicator that this might come to fruition. The smart refrigerator that texts you at work when your son kills that last gallon of milk at home is a nice idea. Mass uptake? Doubt it. All these questions come back to access and not enough people use the Internet to make any of these scenarios viable. People cannot figure out Facebook, for God's sake.”

“Unless there is some extremely large usability breakthrough, I have a hard time seeing a huge increase in the adoption of smart-home capabilities. One area where I think we will see more is electricity management and monitoring, once smart meters are rolled out to more households. As of now, the percentage of homes with smart meters is in the high teens, and that is too low for the network effect to take hold. Once that reaches 30-40%, we’ll begin to see more services become available.”

“A smart home requires smart appliances or dumb appliances with smart plugs. The promise of low-cost laundry is tempered with a washer that doesn’t dry, leaving wet clothes to get smelly during warm summer mornings. While millennial yuppies may buy an all-in-one smart washer, they will not be able to install solar panels on the roofs due to renting, so they will be unable to sell energy back to the grid.”

“I prefer to flip switches as required. It doesn’t take that much time, and I know for sure whether or not something is turned on, off, working or not, using energy or not, being monitored by another individual somewhere via cyberspying, and so forth.”

“We already see with Facebook (to take just one example) how fast and loose people are with their personal data. If smart systems demonstrably save money or effort (look at TV clickers), people will adopt them.”

“The reason it won’t happen is there are too many legacy systems around. New communities or housing will have some aspects, but it will be too hard to retrofit old houses and systems with new stuff.”

“These initiatives are likely to fail, as fewer and fewer people are able to own homes. Without ownership, incentive to implement these systems will be reduced.”

“As the large cohort of Baby Boomers ages, they will be looking for life to become simpler, not more complex. Too many of us struggle with four remotes to work our large-screen televisions. Do we want our entire home to became like our televisions?”

“Even now, how many people take advantage of upgrades and discounts and incentives to do simple things like adding insulation, upgrading windows, landscaping for their climates, and so on? The incentives to move in this direction would have to be profoundly appealing to all types, including those who ‘don't believe in’ climate change.”

“The average home of 2020 will be much the same as today for one simple reason: economics. People won’t want to invest in the extra technology because of costs. The economy will need to be very healthy with everyone having a lot of extra (discretionary) income for home smart systems to be widely adopted, and even then it’s not a sure thing. It’s still unlikely to be widely adopted until building codes change and federal and state legislation requires it.”

“I’m not sure how many individuals want to spend time managing their resources at the micro level. Might we see resource management being handled by municipalities or neighborhoods?”

“We will have to contend with the energy consumption associated with these technologies. One recent estimate was that Internet-related equipment and services account for 2% of our energy consumption. Transportation only accounted for 27% in the same study, according to a broadcast report I heard on National Public Radio.”

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