Companionship with smart home devices: The impact of social connectedness and interaction types on perceived social support and companionship in smart homes

Byounggwan Lee, Ohkyun Kwon, Inseong Lee, Jin Woo Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

8 Citations (Scopus)


A home is not only a technical space according to each individual's role but also a social space where family members interact with each other. However, the number of single-person households has recently shown an exponential increase. At the same time, the smart home technology has been growing in order to provide at-home rest to individuals. In this situation, a home's role as a social space is diluted, and many people cannot receive the social support they need at home. In this study, we introduce the concept of social connectedness for the interaction between users and smart home devices. It can be divided into two types. One is the Inner Social Connectedness (ISC) that is generated through connections between the user and the devices in their smart home. The other is the Outer Social Connectedness (OSC) that is generated through connections between the user and the smart home devices in other people's houses. We also introduce two types of interaction. One is the unmediated interaction, in which users interact with each device and the individual device reveals its presence. The other one is the mediated interaction, in which users interact with a single agent that represents various smart home devices. In order to investigate the impact of both inner/outer social connectedness and mediated/unmediated interaction types, we conducted a controlled experiment using a prototype smart home system. The results indicate that both types of social connectedness increase the user's perceived social support. In terms of the effects of social connectedness and each integration type, unmediated interaction was found to be more effective with inner social connectedness, whereas mediated interaction was more effective with outer social connectedness. Furthermore, perceived social support increased companionship with smart home devices. The findings of this study will help design interaction methods between users and objects in smart homes in the future.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)922-934
Number of pages13
JournalComputers in Human Behavior
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Psychology(all)

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