Allegion surveys baby boomers on smart home interests

Thirty-two percent of responding baby boomers already use smart devices
Wednesday, December 13, 2017

CARMEL, Ind.—Schlage, a lock brand within Allegion, recently looked into the baby boomer generation and its feelings on smart home devices by surveying about 500 U.S. adults aged 53-71.

Ann Matheis, marketing lead for Allegion’s multi-family solution, told Security Systems News that the survey covered technology focused questions, including, “What devices are they using? What are they comfortable with? And, what devices might they be interested in the future?”

Matheis continued, “The top smart devices that they use today are: thermostat, entertainment system, garage door opener. But, 17 percent of them said that they are interested in using smart locks in the future, and half of them said electronic access was somewhat interesting to them.” Respondents also had an interest in doorbell cameras, she said.

Thirty-two percent of baby boomers that responded to the survey are already using smart devices in their homes.

Baby boomers that are already using smart devices could be interested in more, particularly as these devices can work together, Matheis noted. “For those that already have something in their home, they’re used to maybe using their phone to control it. The adoption of a smart lock is a natural progression, because it’s used very [similarly] to some of those other components.”

Security dealers can take advantage of this information by presenting a baby boomer customer with “a total smart home approach instead of just one aspect of it, like the security monitoring system,” according to Matheis.

What might be inhibiting the baby boomers that are interested in smart devices? “I think technology can be challenging if you didn’t grow up with it,” Matheis said.

In 2016, Allegion examined millennials’ smart home preferences and—among other results—found that renters also value smart home amenities. “The millennials is a group that everyone talks about, but we also have this aging population that is very large as well. So, we wanted to see what some of their preferences were,” Matheis said.

The numbers on smart home and smart device adoption were lower among baby boomers than they were among millennials, Matheis noted, “but there is definitely some interest there and some things for property managers and owners to be aware of.”

Allegion noted on an aging-in-place trend among the survey result; 70 percent of respondents indicated they would like to stay in their current home as long as possible. “That’s why I think its important, not only in single-family but also in multi-family, to make sure that you offer the amenities that some of these baby boomers are looking for and interested in,” Matheis said.

Outside of the survey, the company is also seeing that adult children play a role in the smart homes of their parents, according to Matheis. “One thing that we’ve seen a trend on, just in general, is the children of this older population—those are the people that are helping their parents, whether they install things or keep track of their parents to make sure that their parents are still alive and well,” she said. “We are finding that the children are definitely an influence in what their older parents are using and installing.”