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Impact of Smart Home Technology

Many U.S. consumers are excited about smart home technology. However, there still remain issues with price, interoperability and security that must be overcome to ensure the hype delivers actual results. Let’s review some of these challenges for a better understanding of how smart home technology needs to deliver on its promises.

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There’s a Deep Desire for Smart Home Tech

Research by GfK shows that consumers worldwide are more excited about smart home tech than 11 other new technologies, including the cloud, 3D printing and wearables. In the United States, more than half — 51 percent — of consumers selected smart homes as the technology they were most excited about. In particular, respondents indicated they were most interested in the smart home technology areas of “energy or lighting,” “security and control” and “entertainment and connectivity.”

Interoperability and Pricing Concerns

Despite the desire for smart home tech, it still has not been widely adopted by consumers. A report from Parks Associates and the Consumer Electronic Association indicated that only 13 percent of homes with a broadband connection have at least one smart home device.

In the GfK study, 37 percent of respondents indicated that high prices for smart home technology was their top concern with it. While prices may remain too high, companies are expected to adapt. In fact, Gartner predicts that the average home will feature 500 smart home devices by 2022, which indicates a future featuring a plethora of cheap smart home devices.

However, interoperability also remains a top concern. There are exceptions when you buy products within a brand’s ecosystem. If a Nest carbon monoxide detector detects carbon monoxide, it can send a message to the Nest thermostat to shut off the furnace, which might be the source of the gas. However, consumers want all their different devices (regardless of brand) to seamlessly communicate with one another, which is usually not an option at the moment.

Consumers Want Tight Security

There are countless research reports underlining the security challenges with smart homes. One by Veracode analyzed a number of smart home devices and found them vulnerable to authentication attacks, data theft and even sabotage. With these exploits, hackers would be able to hack into smart home cameras and learn if people are home, helping to facilitate a robbery.

On an even larger scale, researchers Javier Vazquez Vidal and Alberto Garcia Illera discovered a flaw in smart meters that could leave millions exposed to a massive cyber attack. The reason? Flawed code inside the device allowed the researchers to insert a “worm” that could cause widespread blackouts.

In fact, a 2015 survey by YouGov found that only 37 percent of respondents who own smart home devices felt adequately secure with them. Before smart homes can be truly embraced, security needs to be improved dramatically.

Ultimately, there is no doubt that consumers want what smart home technology offers, but there are many challenges that must still be solved. One solution is a IoT device management platform that can remotely monitor and update IoT devices so that security breaches can be handled swiftly and efficiently.

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