Methodological innovations and challenges for research in and on smart/connected home environments

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventParticipation in workshop or seminar


The Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and other so called smart-technologies, are rapidly evolving in complex socio-technical environments all over the world. Their household use is expected to become common in the near future. The deployment of these technologies in homes without due consideration of potential risks and challenges to both users and the industry, can lead to scenarios of digital vulnerabilities related to security, privacy, behaviour alteration etc. Furthermore, diversity of user groups and their needs and expectations is poorly captured in the current development of these technologies. Research on smart home technologies has pointed to the need for a more transdisciplinary and participatory approach, capable of incorporating social, cultural, technical, and environmental perspectives as a possible solution to address these challenges. In parallel, research calling for action-oriented and transformative techniques that could support a shared enactment process is also gaining traction. This type of research is well-suited for the study of sustainability transitions – which typically have interlinked thematic complexity, involve multi-stakeholder environments and conflicting views for desirable socio-technical futures. Accordingly, this paper aims to evaluate the possibility of using aspects of transformative and action-oriented research perspectives and/or methodologies while deploying participatory methods on the design of guidelines for the sustainable development of smart home technologies. Based on a systematic literature review on action-oriented research methods, transformative research and participatory research strategies for technical development, we evaluate: i) the usefulness of existing action-oriented research methodologies for smart home technologies; ii) the transformative potential of future smart homes research; and iii) the challenges and opportunities that present themselves for incorporating a participatory, transformative, action-oriented approach into the research and development of smart home technologies.
Period9 Jun 2021
Event typeWorkshop