A smart home is a residence that uses internet-connected devices to enable the remote monitoring and management of appliances and systems, such as lighting and heating. The term also relates to domotics, allowing you to use IOT devices to enable home automation.
One of the most touted benefits of home automation is providing peace of mind to homeowners, allowing them to monitor their homes remotely, countering dangers such as a forgotten coffee maker left on or a front door left unlocked.
Domotics are also beneficial for the elderly, providing monitoring that can help seniors to remain at home comfortably and safely, rather than moving to a nursing home or requiring 24/7 home care.
Smart homes can accommodate user preferences for convenience. For example, user’s can program their garage door to open, the lights to go on, the fireplace to turn on and their favourite tunes to play upon their arrival.
Home automation also helps consumers improve efficiency. Instead of leaving the air conditioning on all day, a smart home system can learn behaviours and make sure the house is cooled down by the time homeowners arrive home from work. The same goes for appliances. With a smart irrigation system, the lawn will only be watered when needed and with the exact amount of water necessary. With home automation, energy, water and other resources are used more efficiently, which helps save both natural resources and money for the consumer.
However, home automation systems have struggled to become mainstream, in part due to their technical nature. A drawback of smart homes is their perceived complexity; some people have difficulty with technology or will give up on it with the first inconvenience.
For home automation systems to be truly effective, devices must be interoperable regardless of manufacturer, and use the same protocol or, at least, complementary ones. As it is a relatively new market, there is no gold standard for home automation yet.
Another major issue is smart home security. If hackers are able to infiltrate a smart device, they could potentially turn off the lights and alarms and unlock the doors, leaving a home defense-less to a break-in. Further, hackers could potentially access the homeowner’s network, leading to worse attacks or data exfiltration.
In addition to home security, many smart home opponents worry about data privacy. While smart home device and platform manufacturers may collect consumer data to better tailor their products or offer new and improved services to customers, trust and transparency are critical to manufacturers looking to gain new customers.
Created by Active Learning/INFOCLUB team, Nov 2022