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New Research By The Hartford And The MIT AgeLab Reveals Top 10 Smart Home Technologies For Mature Homeowners

November 29, 2016

Survey indicates most homeowners are concerned about home maintenance but it is not top of mind when considering smart home technology

Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, wireless doorbell cameras, and keyless entry are among the top 10 smart home technologies for homeowners age 50 and older, according to new research from The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab.

“Smart home technology can make life easier for people of all ages, but it can be especially beneficial to those ages 50 and older as their lifestyles change,” said Jodi Olshevski, gerontologist and executive director of The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence. “Keyless entry is convenient for active households, especially if there are multiple generations living under one roof. Wireless doorbell cameras can provide safety and peace of mind to families who travel or to individuals who live alone.”

The research consisted of an extensive review of 25 technologies by a panel of leading experts on housing, aging and technology. These reviews were used to identify the top 10 technologies that can make life easier, help with home maintenance, and enhance safety and security for homeowners over the age of 50. The top 10 technologies include:

1. Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
2. Wireless doorbell cameras
3. Keyless entry
4. Automatic lighting
5. Smart water shut off valves
6. Smart home security systems
7. Smart outlets/plugs
8. Smart thermostats
9. Water and/or mold monitoring sensors
10. Smart window blinds

“How we live has an enormous impact on our happiness and well-being,” said Joseph F. Coughlin, Ph.D., director of the MIT AgeLab. “Smart home technologies offer innovative opportunities to make living easier and to help people protect their homes.”

Smart Home Technology Can Help with Home Maintenance

In addition to the expert panel, The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab surveyed homeowners age 50+ to gauge their perspectives on smart home technology. The survey found that their No. 1 concern about their home is maintenance. However, maintenance was not their top choice when considering the benefits of smart home technology. They cited safety and security (49 percent), saving energy (47 percent), and making day-to-day life easy and convenient (33 percent) as the top three benefits.

“As a homeowner’s insurer that specializes in the mature market, we pay close attention to new smart home technologies and what our customers are interested in,” said Olshevski. “While many homeowners associate this technology with safety and convenience, smart home devices can also help protect their homes and prevent situations that can result in costly repairs, such as burst pipes or water leaks.”

Some of the technologies on the list that can help avoid potential problems before property damage occurs and may help avoid costly repairs, include:

  • Smart smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
  • Smart water shut off valves
  • Smart thermostats
  • Water and mold monitoring sensors

According to the survey, just over half (51 percent) of homeowners over the age of 50 either have smart home technology or are interested in buying it. Of those who do not currently have smart home technology but plan to purchase it or are interested in getting it, about half (49 percent) are willing to spend between $101 and $500 on it in a year.

When considering smart home technology, The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab recommend that mature homeowners:

  • Research what’s out there and the benefits of the technology
  • Determine what might work best for your home and family
  • Visit to take a tour of a digital smart home and learn more about how these technologies work

This recent study builds on many years of research by The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence focused on empowering 50+ homeowners to maintain their safety, independence and well-being.


The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab identified a list of experts who were professionals with expertise in the housing, technology and aging. The panel of nine experts completed questionnaires reviewing 25 different smart home technologies. The results of these reviews were used to identify the top 10 technologies with benefits for 50+ homeowners.

YouGov conducted an online survey among 1,092 homeowners in the U.S. between Oct. 6-10, 2016 of whom 728 were 50+. Margin of error for this study is +/- 3.6 percent at the 95 percent confidence level.

About The Hartford

The Hartford is a leader in property and casualty insurance, group benefits and mutual funds. With more than 200 years of expertise, The Hartford is widely recognized for its service excellence, sustainability practices, trust and integrity. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at Follow us on Twitter at

The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc., (NYSE: HIG) operates through its subsidiaries under the brand name, The Hartford, and is headquartered in Hartford, Conn. For additional details, please read The Hartford’s legal notice.

About The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence

The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence creates innovative business solutions for the mature market. Staffed by gerontologists, the center is uniquely positioned to apply knowledge of aging to develop one-of-a-kind products and services for The Hartford's customers, and specialized training for The Hartford's employees. The center conducts original research in partnership with academic institutions and produces public education programs on safety, mobility and independence. The Hartford has had this in-house expertise since 1984, guiding The Hartford to unparalleled success in understanding and serving the mature market. Follow us on Twitter at

About the MIT AgeLab

The MIT AgeLab is a multidisciplinary research program that works with business, government, and NGOs to improve the quality of life of older people and those who care for them. The AgeLab applies consumer-centered systems thinking to understand the challenges and opportunities of longevity and emerging generational lifestyles to catalyze innovation. For more information go to, or follow the AgeLab on Twitter @JosephCoughlin.


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The Hartford
Michelle Symington, 860-547-5385

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