Smart Home - curse or blessing?

3 min
Tags: Smarthome security Susceptibility Internet hackers Malware Risk

Smart Home - curse or blessing?

A smart thermostat that activates the heating in the bathroom before you get up, blinds that start moving on their own as soon as it gets dark, and surveillance cameras that can be checked with your smartphone even when you're on vacation – in a Smart Home this works without any problems.

Technical progress does not stop at the four walls of the home. The future belongs to the networked home, according to the forecasts of numerous scientists and researchers. But as convenience increases, so do the risks. We approach the provocative question: Smart Home - curse or blessing?

Smart Home: The networked home on the rise

The use of Smart Home applications is inexorably on the rise in Switzerland. At the beginning of 2023, eight percent of all Swiss were using smart household appliances. The same number of people were using smart technology in the home entertainment and building security segments (source: Statista). Forecasts predict that the proportion of users of smart household appliances will rise to as much as 26 percent by 2027 (source: Statista). One thing is certain: the triumphant advance of smart everyday technology is unbroken.

More living quality and security in the Smart Home

A networked home brings with it a number of advantages. The Smart Home brings more living quality to the four walls of the home. One request to the voice assistant is all it takes to play your favorite music in every room. When you come out of the bathroom, which is already cozy and warm in the morning thanks to a smart thermostat, it already smells temptingly of coffee that the networked household appliance has brewed independently with the first ring of the alarm clock.

The Smart Home also stands for added security. If a burglar tries to gain access, an absent user is automatically informed via smartphone. In addition, the light switches on and, if necessary, an alarm system sounds. With the help of an app, you can also check whether the iron has really been switched off and other electrical devices have been disconnected from the power circuit.

Saving energy made easy

At a time of galloping energy prices, many consumers are thinking about ways to save money in the home. Intelligent thermostats, for example, detect when a window has been opened and automatically reduce the heating. Electrical appliances that are not currently needed switch to energy-saving mode without human intervention. With the help of connected meters, you can also detect power guzzlers in the household.

Risk: Susceptibility of the Smart Home to malfunctions

One risk factor for the Smart Home is the susceptibility of the technology to interference, as the closed systems are usually based on radio connections. In the event of a failure of the Internet connection, a total failure of all networked devices may occur. It would be a worst-case scenario that can hardly be ruled out in practice. Extreme weather events such as thunderstorms with lightning can also damage smart technology. It is worth clarifying in advance with the insurance company which damages are covered in the event of such incidents.

Beware of hackers!

The greatest danger for the Smart Home comes from hackers. Nothing works without an Internet connection, and criminals use this to gain access to private data, spy on the house and/or take control of all smart devices with the help of malware. To minimize this risk, the factory-set passwords should be replaced with secure personal passwords immediately after installing the devices.

For security reasons, it should be obvious that a different password should be used for each device. Anyone who wants to be absolutely certain that private data on the laptop, tablet PC or smartphone does not fall into the hands of unauthorized persons should select a different WiFi network for these end devices. If the Smart Home is controlled via smartphone apps, these must be protected against hacker attacks by using locks and passwords.

Conclusion: Smart Home makes everyday life easier and, if all relevant instructions are observed, ensures greater security at home. Regardless of all the advantages, however, everyone must be aware of the risks that radio-based control of all devices in the Smart Home entails.