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Are security fears a blocker for home automation?


Despite a rise in IOT-enabled products, security fears are preventing people taking advantage of them.

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According to a survey by MoneySuperMarket, more than 75{cd01305ab2721fd43c16ff036ef4f7cf719d3bcd28c83c0a9abd1469c0f603e2} of people are reluctant to take advantage of smart home devices because they fear information about them will be collected without their knowledge. Many also fear devices risk being attacked by cybercriminals, disabled by viruses, or used to snoop on people.

A connected world of benefits

These fears come even as the number of IOT-enabled devices continues to rise, with everything from TVs to toasters becoming wifi enabled. By the early 2020s, it’s estimated there will be up to 30 billion devices connected to the internet, bringing multiple benefits. Convenience is the most obvious – from automated robotic vacuums to the ability to remotely turn the heating on an hour before you arrive home. Consumers can save money as well, not just from reducing their own energy usage through smart devices (for example fridges that offer a holiday mode), but by lowering home insurance premiums as well, with remotely activated lights and cameras making a smart-enabled house much more secure.

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A new world of potential downsides

However, the flipside is that consumers may be setting up homes to be more easily accessible to a new breed of cybercriminal. With many devices having only rudimentary security systems that are easily hacked, the fears of someone spying on you from your own security cameras have been enough to put many people off. Another issue is longevity. With many systems requiring regular updates, people worry about investing significant time and money, only to realise they’ve bought the Betamax of home cinema systems, for example. Many people are already turning to home automation companies, to help ensure they have the right kit set up in the most secure way. Companies like http://digitalinteriors.co.uk now offer advice on everything from home cinema system setup to security systems you can run from your phone.

The way forward

Many experts have called for security to become a key measure of IOT devices, with products being clearly rated, in much the same way as they are now for energy usage. Whether this will do enough to persuade consumers, or whether it will take a major hack to force the industry to change, remains to be seen.

 

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