A new study by an electric fire and stove retailer, Radiance Fireplaces, has revealed the areas of the UK which search for smart home devices the most, and Preston appears to have one of the most futuristic approaches to energy consumption in the country.
Preston ranked second out of over 100 towns and cities analysed for their Google search interest this year across six different kinds of smart technology, with only Durham placing higher.
According to the research, the most popular smart devices in Preston are smart doorbells, thermostats and speakers, whilst the other devices included in the analysis were smart switches and plugs, metres and lights.
Overall, Radiance Fireplaces' study found that Brits search for smart devices over 170,000 times a month, with the most popular smart device being a smart doorbell, which was searched 67,500 times a month, more than twice as often as smart thermostats, the next most popular smart device.
A smart home is one equipped with lighting, heating, and electronic devices that can be controlled remotely by smartphone or computer, revolutionizing the way people use and monitor energy consumption at home.
The owner of Radiance Fireplaces, Ben Sullivan said: "Smart devices are being used in a variety of ways to make our home lives easier, whether it’s switching off lights remotely, managing your heating in more intelligent ways or keeping you safe.
"With the threat of rising energy costs looming, some of these devices may be a useful investment to keep bills down as well as an investment for the future value of your home.”
Among the 15 top smart towns and cities in the study, the average house also costs 3.92% more than the UK average, which Radiance Fireplace say suggests that smart homes may also be a way to boost house prices.
Smart devices have risen in popularity in recent years, with a 2021 study by the UK Department for Business Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) finding that smart meters are now installed in 47% of households in the UK, compared to only 6% in 2012, whilst the Eco Experts estimate as many as 2.2 million UK homes have at least two smart devices in 2021.