Intelligent homes: The future of home security
Smart technology, automation and the Internet of Things (IoT) have now well and truly integrated into all areas of our lives – and our homes are no exception. Whether you’re sitting by the pool on holiday checking your CCTV, or the doorbell’s letting you know someone knocked while you were out - it’s never been easier to monitor and control your home.
But, as more of our household items become smart and begin to understand us, how does this impact our home security? With all the amazing advances we’ve seen in recent years, we take a look at what the future of home security might look like and spoke to experts from various industries to gain some fascinating insights.
Home security and the IoT
“As security products become connected they inherently gain new ways to provide safer and securer homes,” Chris Mitchell, CEO of sound-sensor software company Audio Analytic explains to us. “However, they also inherit a set of new responsibilities of making sure we are not exchanging improved physical security for less digital security with no net benefit.” Not only do we need to protect our physical property, but also personal data – whether that’s bank details or signals picked up by our smart devices.
“I believe that we are quite near the start of a technology uptake curve,” Mark Brill, lecturer and consultant in creative innovation tells us. “Right now, it’s mostly early adopters, but we still haven’t found the ‘killer app’ in home security yet.”
What does a smart-security home look like?
Over the past decade, the IoT home market has grown substantially; with more than four million households across the UK having a smart system installed1. These devices make our lives just that little bit more comfortable by meeting , what seems like, our every wants and needs with the use of technology, such as voice and remote control through our mobile phones.
To showcase what some smart security houses look like today, we’ve put together our very own smart home for you below.
- Smart home monitoring kits feature: an alarm, motion sensors for your doors and windows, indoor or outdoor cameras and smart plugs (can also be purchased individually). These kits are controlled from your computer or mobile.
- Smart locks don’t require keys, instead uses your mobile to open doors – no more having to hide the keys under the door matt.
- Smart doorbells notify you if someone knocks at the door while you’re out – direct to your phone. It works like caller ID but for your home, so you can spot unwanted visitors.
- Smart lighting means you can control the lighting in your home from your mobile, which is useful for giving the impression you’re home.
- Smart home security device is an all-in-one camera, sound and motion sensor - controlled from your mobile and doesn’t require installation. The device learns and understands your home habits, meaning it’s quicker to detect unwanted visitors.
- Wi-Fi routers are moving forward. A data security firm2 recently revealed their own router that understands device behaviour around your home – allowing the router to identify suspicious behaviour and block problems quickly. This means your devices are protected from potential hackers and other problems at the connection source.
What risks could these devices pose?
Dr. Simon Moores, futurist for Zentelligence, commented on smart devices - explaining they’re not secure enough for consumers as they provide gateways for hackers to access personal information. Dr. Moores suggests that until a global set of rules are in place between governments and developers on the protection of data, domestic products will always pose a risk to hackers in the future.
As new smart security products come on to the market, Brill explained two key problems developers will need to address:
“Firstly, increased use of cameras bring practical privacy issues for everyone in a household. Secondly, as we see more and more IP connected security devices, it increases the likely hood of being compromised externally.” One example he highlighted was the protection set in place for using credit cards safely online, and whether this approach is one way to protect data on personal smart security networks in the future.
Intelligent homes of the future
As more components in our homes gain artificial intelligence, how does this paint a picture for the future of home security? We asked our experts what they believe the future of smart security may look like for consumers.
The effective self-learning, synchronised decision maker
Brill began by discussing integration and contextualisation, explaining home security as “one element of a connected home ecosystem”. This ecosystem could self-learn our behavioural patterns – based on continuous monitoring of our movements made around the home, for example:
It might look at how someone is moving around the house – does it fit with existing patterns or is it out of the norm? It may use factors such as the unique footsteps of each member of the household to understand if security is being breached.
Mitchell proposes that security and smart home products may be empowered to take action on our behalf. He spoke about the growth of voice control technology, and the rise of digital personal assistants - predicting: “consumers will get used to having an omnipresent assistant who understands and interacts in a way that they feel safe.”
Our homes would understand a lot about us – going beyond home protection and into our general wellbeing. Mitchell says our homes may require “a large number of sensors to understand the context around the user so it can act in an intelligent way, learning all of the time.”
As personal drones become more affordable, there’s companies currently developing ‘smart home security drones3’ – allowing consumers to check unusual activity outside their homes from indoors. There’s even security systems4 on the market now that use outdoor lights and drones to detect unusual activity outside your home.
Futuristic enough? The United States army currently use an advanced dog-like robot5 to transport equipment around on military operations. Consumers can already purchase barking alarms for their homes, and dogs are seen as an effective burglar deterrent, but what if you could have your own personal robotic guard dog?
Remember to look after your devices
When it comes to your home security, it’s just as important to look after your information as it is your home. Below, we’ve provided a few tips on keeping your data safe:
- Keep devices up-to-date, as security companies will release updates to combat hackers as they get more sophisticated. Don’t forget to change default settings as hackers could access this information.
- Encrypted signals are used by your devices to communicate with each other. If your devices aren’t using these signals, it’s easier for hackers to record and hack them. You can check reviews online to ensure your devices are safe.
- Use strong passwords for your devices, and avoid using personal information or common phrases as hackers will try these first. Also, if you write it down, put it somewhere safe and don’t leave it out near the device.
For more advice on protecting your home, read our Home Security Hub.
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