Home automation has become so common now that statistics gathered in 2014 had more than ten percent of homes categorized as ‘smart’ in their automation and usage. The global average at the time was much lower, which showed how much home automation was supposed to grow within that time period. Currently, the statistics are showing that the market will, by 2019, have grown so much beyond this that nearly eight million homes will be designated as ‘smart’. This is a huge change from when automation was restricted to remote controlled thermostats and motorized TV lifts, both of which were initially created (particularly the TV lifts) purely as a way of increasing the space and use of certain household objects.
The growth of home automation has meant that more and more of the bigger branded companies have begun to hope on the bandwagon. They have all created their own versions of home automation, and methods of home automation control. But are we really so sure of ourselves and our ability to handle this continued reliance on home automation? Are we aware of what it involves?
Security is one of the major concerns when it comes to home automation, just as it is the major concern for digital devices as well – every router has a password to prevent people walking into it, for example. When automation systems are simple and easy to use, such as the TV lifts from the introduction, there is no need for extra security involved, since there is no real input or output of sensitive information which needs to be monitored.
The danger is when, as is happening now, home automation becomes more complex, and begins to involve the digital world. Suddenly more information is involved, and there are more ways for people to make their way into a home. Yes, having a remote connection to your home is very useful, but it can also be manipulated by other people unless you are careful.
Who Controls the Automation?
Now that we are becoming more and more connected by the day, the question of who owns what is being asked much more regularly. When automation was simple, these questions never came up; actuators control was undeniably in the hands of the person sitting in the chair, or watching the TV, or owning the house. Now, though, things have become more complicated.
Now, there are two problems to decipher for controlling home automation. We have moved from basic automation to digital automation – it can send and receive signals, and operate based on the information it receives. Similarly to this, now that we have the bigger companies moving into home automation, we are seeing more and more software packages which promise to bring the entirety of the home automation in a home under the control of one mobile device.
This necessarily involves the exchange of huge volumes of information, but the question is – who owns that data? Is it the homeowner? Is it the company which has provided that homeowner with the software package? Is it the third company which provides storage space? There is so much data flying around now that it can be very easy to lose track of who has what, which means it is very easy for someone to sneak in and use the unprotected data.