Engerati’s Week In Energy – Smart Homes Are Here, But What About Privacy?

Published: Mon 15 Jun 2015
A blog entry by Jonathan Spencer Jones

Contributed by:

Jonathan Spencer Jones

Jonathan Spencer Jones's Blog

The smart home is attracting growing interest as more and more products come onto shop shelves. In probably the majority of cases consumers are likely to build up a smart home piecemeal as new devices or appliances are required, rather than in one fell swoop, and this in turn requires both plug-and-play (or at least easy) setup as well as interoperability and back compatibility of products and systems.

With the familiarity of consumers with Apple and Google with Android, the emergence of these companies in the smart home - and broader Internet of Things - market could give it a significant boost. [Engerati-Google And Apple Square Up For The Smart Home] At this stage Apple appears to be up to about a year ahead of Google, with the first Homekit iOS enabled devices hitting the shelves, while Google’s Brillo is yet to be released. Since the article was published, Apple has revealed the further information that the Homekit hub – required to control devices when away from the home – is a 3rd generation or later Apple TV, which may or may not deter potential users.

However, an issue that neither company seems to have broached with these systems is that of privacy, although Apple does plug the general principle of privacy. Given that there was unwarranted claims of smart meters being a spy in the home, from which one’s presence and appliance use could be deduced, they are even more likely with a multitude of smart devices in the home. Consumers seem largely tolerant of tracking and for example browsing information being collected by apps on smartphones and PCs, but they may be less so if they thought their movements and activities within their homes were being monitored. How this issue is handled could go a long way towards impacting the take off, at least in the short term, of smart homes.

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