Smart home technology is predicted to be one of the biggest growing industries over the next few years. With smart home devices just beginning to penetrate the mainstream and becoming part of day-to-day vocabulary, we can only expect this trend to gain momentum as time goes by. With a wealth of everyday conveniences (not to mention the potential to save on home costs) its’ no wonder smart home tech is so appealing to consumers.
However, as with everything, smart home tech may not be without its problems. In fact, experts warn that, before people spend money investing in smart devices, they should acquaint themselves with the potential risks involved. Of course, overall, smart innovations are a great thing for society and will no doubt make many things quicker and easier. But there may be some hidden dangers to consider before you fully kit out your smart home.
What is Smart Home Tech?
Smart home systems generally refer to automated devices that perform or manage routine tasks around our homes. If you think about it, this is really nothing new. The idea of having robotic servants or super-intelligent cleaning robots has long been around in popular culture. We already live with a version of this when it comes to commonly owned home devices like dishwashers or vacuum cleaners.
However, there are a couple of key differences when it comes to the emergence of smart tech for your home. For one, many domestic devices, like dishwashers or vacuum cleaners are still manually operated by us. Sure, it may just be the touch of a button, but we have to be there to manually push it. Smart devices, on the other hand, can be activated remotely and can be automated to perform tasks at the same time every day or when a certain trigger occurs. Some smart devices utilize a form of AI to make suggestions or to partially predict what we are likely to want. Although more sophisticated home AI technology is probably a few years off, voice-activated home assistants, like Alexa and Siri, prove they are already closer than we think.
Popular smart home gadgets include things like automated heating systems that can be controlled via the internet or through your phone. This allows you to set the temperature to whatever you like while you’re away and to save money on wasted heat. Smart home security systems and surveillance cameras are also popular and allow you to match up your camera view to all devices while on the go.
Many people hope to use smart tech to make their homes safer or help them lead healthier lives. For example, commonly purchased smart devices include blinds that close at sunset and open at sunrise, ensuring a good night’s sleep. However, it is also possible to make your home environment healthier without using smart technology, such as by increasing ventilation or investing in a well water filtration system.
What Are the Risks of Smart Home Tech?
1. Privacy Breaches
When you deck out your home with smart technology, you will generally connect all your devices through your home router. Once these devices are linked, you will be able to control them from your phone using your login information, voice activation, or touch password. However, while this amplifies the handiness of smart tech, it does leave you (and your home) vulnerable to both digital and potentially physical intrusion.
According to most experts, once your smart home system is put in place, the security of your router is paramount. If someone can hack into your router, it will be easy for them to access and change settings on your smart devices. This can even go so far as to allow hackers to change the entry code on your security system, allowing outsiders to enter your home. Choosing a strong password for your home wi-fi access is absolutely vital if you’re planning on using smart technology.
2. Data Collection
Whether you’re aware of it or not, companies collect a vast amount of data on you every time you log into a device. The increased presence of technology when we hook our houses up with smart home automation systems simply increases a tech company’s capacity to collect our data. Data is often gathered as a way for companies to optimize the type of advertising they aim towards you. While this is nothing sinister, it’s worth being aware that by signing into your smart devices you’re giving over more information that companies can store on their databases indefinitely.
3. Power Outage
One of the greatest smart home ideas is the concept of connecting all your home devices through one major hub. However, this idea, while it wins for convenience and usability, has the drawback of being reliant on a single power source. Therefore, if your power goes down and you lose internet access, you may not be able to access basic functions on some of your appliances. For example, if your security system is set to unlock certain times and the power goes out, you may find yourself trapped in your house, unable to override the settings.
4. Theft of Identity
It is not only your home security that could be at risk from hackers when you rely entirely on smart technology. Once all your smart home devices are connected, hackers who into one appliance, have the capacity to access them all. This could leave essential information, like your bank details or private passwords, vulnerable to exploitation. It is advisable to invest in an identity protection tool if you plan to incorporate a lot of smart tech into your home or connect with multiple appliances.
Despite these risks, smart home ideas and innovations are developing all the time to be more secure and more dependable. You can, however, minimize your risk by using strong passwords and being vigilant. With this in mind, it is perfectly possible to feel safe in your smart home.
Final Call: Do you use smart tech in your home? What are some of the pros and cons that you have noticed? Let us know in the comments!
Kevin is a content writer for about 3 years. He studied Design and Arts at College in Pennsylvania. A fan of home interior design and, he has taken it upon himself to spread his love for decorating homes by informing people on some of his ideas through his articles.