The Dangers of Too Smart Homes

Will come true at last my dream of true democratization of Smart Homes ?. I remember the days not so long ago of X.10, KNX, LonWorks, when we were conditioned to design and install expensive sensors and devices that manufacturers did not want to downgrade to maintain Smart house as a profitable private club for the wealthy. I remember how many of us were forced to close our business.

But seems that this time it is serious, finally the smart home has really hit its stride. We hear every day it in the news. BI Intelligence says there are 1.9 billion devices today, and there will be 9 billion by 2018, roughly equal to the number of smartphones, smart TVs, tablets, wearable computers, and PCs combined. Clearly the numbers indicate a fast growing industry. Source : Icontrol – 2014 State of the Smart Home

Based on more than 2,000 consumer surveys across the U.S., Acquity Group’s 2014 Internet of Things (IoT) Study found consumer adoption of network connected technology is on the rise, with 69 percent of consumers planning to buy an in-home device in the next five years. By the end of next year, a total of about 13 percent of consumers will own an in-home IoT device such as a thermostat or in-home security camera. Currently, only about 4 percent of those surveyed own such a device.                                                      Source : Acquity Group 2014 Internet of Things Study

Assuming during next 3 -5 years will occur a compulsive adoption of the smart home, we will see as our homes become the hub for smarter living. But although I am a supporter of smart homes, I cannot forget the dangers and the risks involved in making houses too smart. Here are some of them.

Smart House is not a Hospital

When I published the post “Healthcare-the-connected-patient” I emphasize the benefits of wearables and Internet of the Things for people / families that could upload data to a smartphone or tablet app or Cloud and began tracking his blood pressure, blood sugar, and other health data so healthcare will be done at a distance with videoconferencing and remote monitoring improving our quality of life.

Apple, Google, Samsung and Microsoft are planning to launch their automation platforms (HealthKit, Google Fit and SAMI, Kinect, respectively), let’s hope with open APIS, and if they partner with Network Operators and Device Vendors enabling consumers to aggregate personal/family data from a number of devices and wearables, and relay the information to other parties the future dreamed of for so long will come true.

Wearable Health trackers could be used for monitoring babies and the elderly. Mimo has created one for parents that logs an infant’s respiration, skin temperature, body position and activity level. In the future, wearables could also allow for remote monitoring of the elderly, to see how much a person moved and whether he or she ate or showered, potentially lowering the cost of home health care.

What are the dangers: Although smart home platforms will open up a new level of access to patient health data for doctors and device vendors, we must assure that only will occur with our individual’s consent. We must ensure data security and reliability of the applications, cloud services and connectivity we use. We never will replace a physician, never will self-prescribe by an App. Remember that devices fail, and the measures can be wrong. In spite companies will design the solutions to avoid fraud, it is up to you to provide the real data, not fool the machines providing bad measures by pretending for instance to walk more than we do or we take our pills at the time indicated.

Smart House is not a Power Plant

I will focus only on Smart meters, because I am not interested yet to generate clean energy (solar, wind,..) and resell it to Utility companies.

EU Member States are required to ensure the implementation of smart metering under EU energy market legislation in the Third Energy Package. This implementation may be subject to a long-term cost-benefit analysis (CBA). In cases where the CBA is positive, there is a roll-out target of at least 80% market penetration for electricity by 2020.

Smart meters are the next generation of gas and electricity meters and they are part of our plan for upgrading most the energy system in many countries. Energy suppliers will be required to install smart meters and take all reasonable steps to install them for everybody. Smart meters will give consumers:

  • near real-time information on energy use
  • the ability to manage their energy use, save money and reduce emissions
  • an end to estimated billing – people will only be billed for the energy they actually use, helping them to budget better
  • easier switching – it will be smoother and faster to switch suppliers to get the best deals

What are the dangers – Reading the 15 smart meters facts in this article look like some “Utility companies are pressing forward about new utility meters being installed. These meters are linked to higher bills, appliance burn outs, house fires, interruption of radios and other wireless devices – even pacemakers – along with many other health, safety, and privacy related issues ….. and they are not being held accountable!  In all sincerity, what you do not know about these smart meters can not only cost you financially, but hurt you or your loved ones as well”. Additional info here: http://stopsmartmeters.org/

 

Smart House is not a Fitness Center (Gym)

Although it is difficult to explain, the reality is that we have increasingly less time for make sports and specially to go to the Gym, additionally many people enjoy the privacy of training in their own home gym.

Today in many homes we can find fitness equipment, and during these days with the explosion of wearables (Best wearable tech of 2014) the idea of turning our house into a fitness center is very tempting.

Check this link Which Is More Beneficial: Training At Home Or Training In The Gym? That include advantage and disadvantage comments for The Novice Bodybuilder and The Advanced Bodybuilder.

What are the dangers – Obviously at home you can not enjoy the social atmosphere and variety at a gym and you do not have personalized fitness instruction by well-trained health professionals. Remember that nowadays we do not have yet any company that combine our fitness data with other data sets from our life to generate personalized recommendations.

And definitely a Smart House is not a Data Center

If we ignore some visionaries is a matter of a few years that all have at home one or more tablets, smartphones, smart tv, smart game console, smart refrigerator, smart kitchen, smart lamps, smart thermostat, smart meter and many other smart devices and appliances. Many colleagues and friends asked me, why would my refrigerator need to be smart? Or Should I convert a room at home in a Data Center ?. My answer is “I don´t think so”.

What are the dangers If you had read stories like somebody hacked a refrigerator recently, or this story regarding a brand of connected LED light bulbs which can be hacked to change the lighting, and worse, to reveal the homeowner’s Wi-Fi® Internet password. Can you imagine the risk that someone take control of our smart house?. It’s a serious issue, and has been shown that security needs to be considered in depth when Internet of Things (IoT) devices are being developed.

Summary

If we all agree that our house play a key element in the well-known Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, it is logical to think that we can not resist the temptation to introduce smart home automation systems to improve our lives with more security, comfort, control and entertainment.

And that´s fantastic if we do not convert our life in a hell because of the amount of devices and technology that we installed on our home sweet home.

Whether you have a Smart home or you are planning to have, thanks for keep reading and sharing my posts.

For additional information please contact: francisco.maroto@oies.es

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