The Smart Home Era: Can Intelligent Living Secure Us?

Based on a 2015 survey conducted by The Harris Poll, 78% of Americans anticipate homes to be reinforced with must-have smart home products in the next five years. These hi-tech and Internet-enabled devices, which are estimated to reach 45 million by 2018, range from home security products to automated vacuum cleaners. Are you ready for the future?


Although there’s no question that we want to secure and maintain our homes with the best technology available, many are still left in the dark as to the practicality and sustainability of intelligent living. As we have yet to fully adapt to this fast-developing reality, many are grappling with a good understanding of the challenges and benefits of maintaining a smart home. Some even fear that smart technology can be too smart for our own good, a fear which is generously illustrated in popular culture and blockbuster movies with images of robots and computers taking over us.


But we are obliged by the times to adapt despite the concerns surrounding new technology and intelligent living. That many aspects of our lives are now linked to the Internet is one reminder of the of the influence of new technology on how we live. So instead of hopelessly avoiding or fearing new technology, the question that should be asked is: How prepared are you in incorporating intelligent living in your smart home? It’s valid to feel concerned about intelligent living, but knowing more about it means you are proactive in mastering new technology instead of letting it controlling you.


Home Security and the Face of Intelligent Living


Robot building


The importance of security in intelligent living is becoming less science fiction and more concrete reality. With today’s high crime rate, it is vital to reinforce home safety with devices that can effectively deter burglars and other criminals. Consider the recent statistics from the FBI, which reports that 1.7 million burglaries occurred in 2014 in the US alone. The alarming figure provides justification for new technology developers to come up with much-needed home security solutions.


As a major component of intelligent living, advances in home security are concrete proofs of this growing industry. It is determined to reach new heights in terms of coming up with newer smart devices. To date, consumers can already optimize smart home products such as home alarm monitoring, automatic locks, smart thermostats, wireless speakers, and various intelligent sensors that can be controlled with a smartphone. With the Internet-of-Things becoming a trend, a new breed of devices are overtaking the market. Just last year, smartwatches have begun to ingrain itself in the consciousness and lifestyle of many people.


In addition to providing digitally-controlled and -monitored home security, intelligent living is making sustainable homes an exciting reality. Current home automation systems are demonstrating that it’s possible for homeowners to enjoy an efficient, eco-friendly, secure, and comfortable living space. Devices include smart thermostats that can adjust temperature while you’re asleep or send you alerts when you’re away. Basic yet necessary capabilities such as automatic indoor and outdoor lighting can help you save energy costs and help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.


The Challenge: Keeping Up with Smart Home Development


Evolution of light


While property crimes like burglaries are rampant, investments in home security system is quite low at present. According to statistics, only 17% of homes in the US have home security, a small amount considering that a burglary is estimated to occur every 13 seconds and that two-thirds of burglars abandon their misdeed in the presence of home security system. There is clearly a disconnect between the necessity of home security and the preventive measures (or lack thereof) implemented by homeowners. What could be the reasons behind this?


A number of studies and articles provide explanations to the challenges involving smart homes and consumer response. For smart homes, the challenge consists of bolstering protection against hackers and cyber criminals. Smart homes may prove effective against home invasions, yet its Internet-based feature is vulnerable to digital security threats. On the part of consumers, the challenge largely relates to the rapidly increasing—and potentially confusing—number of devices. This challenge is compounded by the lack of a coherent system that can unite all existing smart home devices. As it happens, the best IoT devices for the connected home have different functionalities and application requirements. Devices “speak” different languages at the moment, which signals disjoint rather than unity.


A case can also be made with regard to the limited functionalities of current smart home devices. This can be restrictive for consumers who, armed with tips for achieving a sustainable home, are clamoring for devices to make many aspects of their lives easier and safer. For example, while basic items like security cameras, smart bulbs and electronic locks are available, smart refrigerators and cookers are not yet in existence. The growing demand of modern life expose the need for many other home items to be made smarter.


Despite the challenges, the reality and necessity of creating a smart home are encouraging both consumers and developers to think and create better ways of improving intelligent living. In fact, progress is already happening. A good example is the increasing affordability of home alarm monitoring. Month-to-month security systems monitoring can be efficiently sustained for as low as $8.95, making intelligent living more accessible than you might think.


Off to the Future: Looking Forward with Optimism


MIT Museum: Kismet the AI robot smiles at you


The challenges surrounding intelligent living serve as a guide to better achieving a sustainable home in the future. A good indication of the development involves the evolution of smart home security. Before, home security simply meant locking doors and windows. Now, it is fast evolving into something which involves surveillance cameras and devices like sensors which can be controlled and monitored remotely. Indeed, we are fast realizing that change is necessary and inevitable. Remember that before the Internet became common, life was different in that it was less mediated by technology. Life is now inconceivable without the Internet, and so is our future without it. It is worth mentioning that the United Nations now asserts that Internet access is a basic human right.


It’s also becoming clear that IoT and smart homes are logical extensions of the modern life. The promise of new technology is to create more devices that can potentially improve home safety and raise the standards of quality living. We are still at the early stages of intelligent living, which makes it all the more necessary that we remain vigilant.


The fast-approaching golden era of smart and sustainable homes carry the compelling features of convenience, sustainability, and security. Alarm security system companies and manufacturers are orienting consumers to the idea of better designing their lives with the existence of smart devices. As a proper response to the inevitable rise of smart homes, consumers must continue in their active participation in directing the course of new technology. After all, the future can only be truly bright and promising if new technology and intelligent living remain under the control of users rather than passively accepted as an inescapable reality.


Written by John Anderson


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