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Research Project:
National Outlook for Automation in the Home
(Project NOAH)
 project | papers

RESEARCHER: Alladi Venkatesh

Project NOAH (1985-2000) was a large, multi-year project funded by the National Science Foundation. The study examined the nature and scope of the personal computer use by American families and its impact on family life. The study extended over a twenty period from the pre-Internet era (mid-1980s) to the post-Internet era (early 2000s). The methodologies used include national surveys (both panel and longitudinal), site visits, ethnography, time-diary data, and in-depth/field interviews.

The main findings can be summarized in terms of four developments: ongoing experimentation with computing technology, domestication of computing technology, integration of computing technology into family life, and indispensability of computing technology to family life. The results show that computers offer convenience and flexibility across a range of activities not matched by any other home technology – any-time shopping and banking (7/24), communication (email), information source (medical/health), latest news, learning about other cultures, vacation planning, photo sharing etc. However, the study found that families do not want to "over-technologize" their homes. Home automation is important but not critical. A key to designing home technology is to examine how it fits into family life.

The results of these studies were reported in various journals and also as book chapters: Management Science, Journal of Marketing, Communications of the ACM, The Information Society, Journal of Product Innovation and Management, European Journal of Marketing, Journal of Economic Psychology, Cognition Technology and Work, Telecommunications Policy.