Smart home technologies are gaining in popularity as more and more people realize how beneficial they can be. We think that smart homes are indeed the homes of the future. But, we must also acknowledge the fact that they bring along certain risks. In this article, we will talk about the benefits and risks of smart home technologies.
The Origins of Smart Home Technologies
Despite the popular opinion that smart home technologies are a recent development, they’ve been around ever since the 1970s. Bill Gates started building his smart home in 1988, but we don’t have to be billionaires to have smart homes today.
Smart home technologies use a thing called the “Internet of Things” to allow us to control every aspect of our homes, remotely. With modern smart home automation, we can control not just the thermostat, but our home security systems, track our energy use, etc.
The first official industry standard for smart home technologies was the X10, which was released in 1975. It worked by sending 120 kHz pulses of digital information through the existing electrical system in our homes. X10 worked with programmable outlets which allowed us to turn certain devices on and off.
However, X10 was a “one-way” system, which meant that although it could send commands to devices, those devices couldn’t send information back. Later on, a two-way X10 was released which fixed this issue. And of course, the price of the two-way system was higher.
To this day, X10 remains the most widely used system in home automation. However, it’s slowly being replaced because the electrical wiring it uses isn’t the most reliable way to send digital information. Because of the faultiness of the concept, the X10 often didn’t work.
Moreover, the latest smart home technology standards like Z-Wave, Zigbee and Insteon are gaining in popularity due to their advanced use of wireless technologies like mesh-networking.
What Smart Home Automation systems are there?
Even though the concept of smart homes has been around for a while, the industry is just now starting to develop at a steady pace. At the present time, we can draw a line between the two most common smart home technologies.
Central Control Systems
Central control is one of the most noteworthy home-automation systems. It allows us to control nearly everything in our homes from a single spot.
Central control systems are usually installed in the form of a wall terminal, like the ones used for security systems. They are also accessible by remote controls, smartphones, tablets, and computers.
These systems are most widely used by businesses and even some private residences. However, they are expensive, so not everyone can afford a centralized system.
However, central control systems bring with them one major flaw, they have a compatibility problem. Basically, we have to make sure all other smart devices are compatible with the system. If they’re not, we risk having to spend even more money.
Cloud-Based Smart Home Systems
This type of smart home technology uses the Internet to connect and control our smart devices through the cloud. The Internet of Things is heavily based on cloud technologies, so these systems are just a natural extension.
Most of these smart devices use our home Wi-Fi to connect to the network and allow us to control them from afar. We can control our smart homes remotely, even from half a world away.
As such, cloud-based smart home systems are more accessible and more widely used by the general public.
One of the major problems with cloud-based smart homes is the number of apps needed for complete control of our homes. It’s hard to keep track when we have to install a different app for each device.
The Benefits and Risks of Smart Home Technologies
This industry is certainly expanding as we are becoming more reliant on technology. However, there are upsides and downsides to everything. In the text below, we will take a quick look at the benefits and risks of smart home technologies.
What are the benefits of Smart Home Technologies?
We can all agree that the benefits of this technology are pretty clear. We will, however, go over the most noteworthy ones in the list below.
The invention of the Internet is certainly one of humanity’s greatest achievements. Almost all modern devices use the internet in one form or another. As a result, we can access our smart home system remotely.
Sometimes we forget to turn off our lights or heaters when we leave our home. As a result, we can get a big electricity bill at the end of the month. It doesn’t have to be like that anymore.
With smart home technologies, it’s incredibly easy to track the power consumption of our home and to control which devices we want to leave on or off. Not only do smart home technologies help the Earth, but saving power also means saving money.
In the US alone, a burglary takes place every 15 seconds. Surprisingly enough, most burglars enter through an unlocked door or window! So, if we want to reduce the risk of burglary, smart home security systems are important.
With smart home security, we can make sure that we didn’t forget to lock our doors. We can even access our security cameras remotely, for extra peace of mind.
What about the risks associated with Smart Home Technologies?
One of the biggest risks involved with devices that use electricity to work is a power outage. This problem is even greater when it comes to systems that control our entire homes.
Some systems avoid this problem by having a spare battery to keep them powered during an outage. However, smart systems that use the Internet will probably be down.
Cybersecurity and Privacy Risks
Being connected to the Internet is not without risks. Few people worry about the security and privacy issues that come with all technology.
If we’re not careful with our passwords, we risk giving complete control of our home to someone else. Furthermore, certain smart devices collect information about us. To avoid these problems, we should always be familiar with the smart devices we plan to buy.
The market for Smart Home Technologies is growing rapidly, and they are becoming more accessible to the general public. More people are building their smart homes in one form or another. From simple smart speakers to hi-tech security systems, they’re certainly appealing to everyone.
It’s amazing how many things we can do with technology. However, before we start building our smart homes, it’s important that we’re aware of both the benefits and risks of smart home technologies. We hope that this article was useful and provided you with useful information about this topic of the future.