The meaning of convenience in smart home imaginaries: tech industry insights

Line Kryger Aagaard*


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Smart home technology (SHT) is being promoted for the enhancement of occupants’ convenience, as well as more efficient and sustainable energy consumption. However, recent research indicates that convenience often takes precedence over energy reduction, threatening to affect inhabitants’ everyday practices in a non-sustainable way. In order to understand the social and environmental consequences of SHT, the meaning of convenience is investigated. How is the concept of convenience developed in concert with technological development? Presenting SHT imaginaries from the industry, the paper builds on qualitative interviews with 11 SHT professionals. By exploring the practices, roles, and relations at play in SHT development, it is demonstrated how the vision to enhance convenience in everyday life is related to a user imaginary characterized by passivity and disengagement from energy savings. Furthermore, convenience is enabled and enforced through the notion of interoperability. Interoperability refers to not only technologies ‘speaking together’ but also a strong interdependency between professional actors. By exploring the practices at play in SHT development, the meaning of convenience is revealed to be an outcome of this interdependency as well as the collectively shaped ideas, and technological standards embedded in the industry.

TidsskriftBuildings and Cities
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)568-582
Antal sider15
StatusUdgivet - 2021

Bibliografisk note

Funding Information:
The author gratefully acknowledges financial support for this research through the eCAPE research project. eCAPE is financed by the European Research Council (ERC) under the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program (ERC Advanced Grant number 786643).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Author(s).


  • Agency
  • Convenience
  • Energy demand
  • Interoperability
  • Smart home
  • Social practices
  • Technology development


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