Smart home devices have become an integral part of our bedrooms and living rooms across the world. They make it easier for us to look at the doors remotely and turn off the lights without having to get up from the couch or the bed.
They have also taken over the home offices, and several top tech companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Google have expanded their home tech product range and are investing heavily into the sector.
The pandemic has blurred the lines between our work and home lives, and while many employees have returned to the office, many others are still working hybrid.
As a result, they are asking Google Assistant and Alexa to book virtual meetings or to remind them of the important events on their calendars. Such productivity tools add convenience to our lives, but they also raise security and privacy concerns if not managed well by the companies.
Companies are cashing in on the smart home trend
Devices like the Amazon Echo Speaker or Google Nest have a line of smoke alarms, smart thermostats, as well as doorbells which have now become mainstream. Majority of the households with WiFi connectivity have at least one smart home device, and consumers are enjoying the idea of having a smart home where everything works with technology.
There will soon come a time when each individual will have a few devices tied to them, and there will be at least four to five devices per household. Even the next generation of robots will come with more capabilities and will be highly social.
Tech companies want to ensure that consumers get the best out of their devices, and they are hoping to make the most of this opportunity.
Those using Amazon Alexa virtual assistant can join Zoom meetings using a simple voice command and they can also get reminders at a certain time about their to-do lists and the meetings for the day. You can also have the emails read out loud or play music while you work.
Smart home tech doesn’t come cheap and when you are investing in the latest technology, you also need to ensure that you have adequate home warranty.
This can help save hundreds of dollars in the future. An article by Cinch Home Services has the best tips to find the right home warranty company for your needs. Even though you have home insurance, it helps to invest in a home warranty for the sake of your home appliances and systems.
The concerns around security and privacy
Google allows users to opt out of a human review as well as records, but it has been known to tap into online activities of users to serve them the right ads. Similarly, Amazon is also known to use the data and information of its users.
In 2019, Facebook had to pay a whopping $5 billion fine to the Federal Trade Commission for violating the privacy of consumers. Facebook had about 87 million users’ data which was vulnerable before the U.S. presidential election.
This was a huge blow to Facebook’s popularity, and it suffered breaches of user data and was under scrutiny for the amount of data it collected from the users.
What’s the way out?
While it is hard to imagine our lives without smart home tech, it is advisable to heed caution when mixing your personal and professional data. If you use a single device for home and work, you could be creating new opportunities for criminals to look for ways to steal sensitive company information.
For example, it is easy to hack someone’s smoke alarm or a thermostat where they could raise the temperature in your home to get you to leave the device behind. They could then come and steal it. Even employers can have access to the data and activities of their employees when they are using the same device for work.
But there are ways to use the right device and not compromise confidential information. First, you need to familiarise yourself with the security and privacy of the home device and understand what you need to do to maintain your privacy. Remember to update the device regularly if it doesn’t update automatically. This will prevent security vulnerabilities.
If you can, try to keep different devices for home and work purposes. If not, try to avoid using your home device while working or limit the use for professional tasks.
Smart home tech is the future, and it is one thing that will be a part of every household. While it allows us to embrace new technology, it also comes with a few risks, and if you are aware of the same, you will be able to make the most of the technology.