Is this the dawn of the “age of the smart home?”
Do advances like refrigerators that connect to email, batteries that power an entire home, and thermostats that can detect a house fire show that the age of the smart home has finally arrived? The majority of people Intel Security recently surveyed think so. In fact, 77 percent of the 9,000 respondents across nine countries believe that smart homes will be as common as smartphones in under a decade.
The survey shows the cautious optimism — and healthy skepticism — that consumers exhibit toward a future filled with smart homes.
Consumers see major benefits of smart homes. They think they’ll get to spend more time with loved ones (43 percent) and by themselves (39 percent), probably because of the associated efficiencies of living in a smart home. Majorities see benefits like reduced costs of electricity and heating/cooling.
Consumers are just as conscious about the need to get security right, and they have a good idea about how. Respondents are concerned that existing security measures, like passwords and pins, would not be enough to guard against the latest threats. In fact, 75 percent of consumers surveyed are anxious about using passwords to manage smart homes, with 54 percent rating fingerprints highly as a method for securing the smart home – harkening back to Marty McFly’s home in Back to the Future Part II. Other biometric tools are gaining popularity also; 46 percent of consumers rated voice recognition and 42 percent rated voice or iris recognition highly as security measures. Our survey found that consumers want security to be convenient and thorough: 89 percent would choose to secure their smart homes through a single, integrated & connected security package. These consumers see the benefits of innovations like the smart home and believe the same innovations are essential from a security perspective.
Security seems to be the primary concern holding back full consumer embrace of smart homes, with 67 percent of those surveyed saying they would worry about personal data being hacked by cyber criminals. This tracks with security concerns over the Internet of Things (IoT), and indeed smart homes represent one particular application of IoT. Every device that we connect to the internet and bring into our smart homes offers the possibility of creating new risks. A hacker who gets into a house via a smart thermostat or refrigerator can cause damage just as an attacker who gets into a PC though a phishing scheme. This is a strong reminder for smart home vendors to implement effective security measures that benefit consumers and work to thwart attacks. Then these IoT devices can enable greater conveniences for all – and reassure consumers that they are safe to use.
Smart homes are a hot topic right now. The Atlantic Council today is launching a report on this same topic, called “Smart Homes and the Internet of Things” that examines the pitfalls of smart homes – if we don’t get security right the first time around.
For more on securing the next generation of smart homes, check out our infographic on the topic.