WEEK

Smart home is watching you

smart home

The smart home market size, according to Statista, will reach 73,6 billion in 2019. The forecast indicates that the market by 2024 will be growing more than 20 percent annually.
Today there are more than 144 million smart homes (2019), of which 34,4 million are in Europe and 42,2 in the US.
Every year the number of smart homes increases, but they face many challenges to become truly smart. For now, it is “creepy” at times.

Growing concerns

The survey conducted by PCMag among US consumers indicates that 68 percent believe that smart devices are listening when we are not aware of it. They also think that appliances collect data and share it with companies to whom they belong. Privacy has become the first on the users’ concern list in the context of smart homes. Smart speakers have to be always on to work. It became apparent – devices wait for users call, so they have to listen to what we say continuously. Companies behind smart devices admit they register some conversations. At the same time, they ensure they record only when a user uses keywords. It happens to help AI hidden in smart speakers train and learn to better respond to users needs.

Companies also assure that privacy is their priority. However, it occurs that smart speakers sometimes record conversations without the user being aware of that. That situation took place in Germany. The consumer asked for his recordings. He received access to 1700 conversations of which he didn’t know at all. However, companies have the answer to similar issues. Users can review recordings and delete it. Though, some cases don’t help at all. What users should think in such a situation: you are at the meeting in the conference room, suddenly your smart speaker starts chuckling without any reason?
Another survey carried out by IPSOS Mori also indicates that 67 percent of Americans say that the smart home is creepy. The most interesting point in that study is that number is comparable among smart devices owners and those who don’t own them.

Privacy policy

The issue of being recorded is not the only aspect of privacy. We can have cameras, thermostats, coffeemakers and many other devices which collect our data and send them. Where? It is worth paying attention to where devices send the data before we decide for a given device. Privacy policy, although usually long, gives information on who will use the data once we turn on our appliance.
Maybe we don’t have to give up our privacy for the convenience that smart homes give. If we want our house to help us in everyday life to make it smarter, we should put a bit of effort and (among others) acquaint with privacy policies and secure our router.

Another aspect of a smart home is the security of devices we connect to the network. Many of them are not secured at all. It means that cybercriminals can steal data and use it to whatever they want. All the more that we become victims of cybercrimes more and more often. In 2018, 25 percent of Americans became victims of such crimes. Thus, the scale is huge. It is not related to a smart home only, but privacy demands much greater attention.

The smart home market is growing annually at a two-digit rate. The house that makes the life of its residents much easier becomes more and more intelligent, but there are more challenges. However, privacy is the first concern. Because – which one of us would want our smart home to know about us more than we do?


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