Smart homes and their users: a systematic analysis and key challenges

C. Wilson, T. Hargreaves, R. Hauxwell-Baldwin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Published research on smart homes and their users is growing exponentially, yet a clear understanding of who these users are and how they might use smart home technologies is missing from a field being overwhelmingly pushed by technology developers. Through a systematic analysis of peer-reviewed literature on smart homes and their users, this paper takes stock of the dominant research themes and the linkages and disconnects between them. Key findings within each of nine themes are analysed, grouped into three: (1) views of the smart home-functional, instrumental, socio-technical; (2) users and the use of the smart home-prospective users, interactions and decisions, using technologies in the home; and (3) challenges for realising the smart home-hardware and software, design, domestication. These themes are integrated into an organising framework for future research that identifies the presence or absence of cross-cutting relationships between different understandings of smart homes and their users. The usefulness of the organising framework is illustrated in relation to two major concerns-privacy and control-that have been narrowly interpreted to date, precluding deeper insights and potential solutions. Future research on smart homes and their users can benefit by exploring and developing cross-cutting relationships between the research themes identified.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)463-476
Number of pages14
JournalPersonal and Ubiquitous Computing
Issue number2
Early online date4 Sep 2014
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2015


  • Smart homes
  • Users
  • Technologies
  • Households
  • Energy
  • Assisted living

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