Smart homes are becoming increasingly popular in the UK as they offer numerous benefits such as convenience, energy efficiency (who doesn’t want lower bills?), and improved security. However, as with all new technology, there are concerns to be aware of surrounding privacy and data protection. In this article, we discuss smart homes, and their benefits, plus how to ensure you’re digitally safe.
What is a Smart Home?
A Smart Home is simply a property equipped with devices that can be controlled remotely via the internet. Everything from the heating thermostat to the lights, electric curtains to security cameras, plus TVs and entertainment systems, can be connected to a central hub or controller and then accessed through an app on a smartphone or tablet. The app enables the user to easily and quickly adjust the devices from the palm of their hand. Homeowners can even pre-set complete room moods – for example, for a party, or working or relaxing – with preferred lighting levels, music, blinds and TV favourites all actioned at the push of a button.
There are many fun and positive aspects to living in a connected home, but perhaps the greatest is convenience. With a smart home, you can control your devices from literally anywhere in the world, whenever you like. For example, you can turn up the heating before you arrive home from work; view who’s at the front door from the beach; or check you’ve turned off all the lights downstairs from your bed upstairs. Saving time and energy – and money – smart homes are simply harnessing technology to make life easier. And for some homeowners, especially ageing and less able-bodied residents; folks who are perpetually busy; or parents of teens who never remember to switch anything off, the convenience factor is immeasurable.
A further positive of smart homes is their energy efficiency. Smart devices save energy by automatically adjusting settings based on the user’s preferences and habits. For example, a smart thermostat can learn when you’re usually at home – or not – and adjust the temperature, accordingly, helping to save money on energy bills, but also reducing your carbon footprint.
Improved security is also a major benefit. With modern CCTV cameras and doorbells, you can monitor your premises whilst you’re out and receive an instant alert of any unusual activity. Modern technology helps to protect our homes and families in a way that previous generations could never have envisaged and provide peace of mind at the same time. Think of it as your own personal banker, caretaker, home help, and security officer all rolled into one.
Privacy and Protection for Homeowners
Despite the many benefits of smart homes, there are natural concerns about privacy and protection. We all know when devices are connected to the internet, they are opened to potential security risks. Hackers might try to gain access to your personal information or damage your private networks.
To ensure your privacy and protect your home there are several simple precautionary steps you can take. Patron Security’s professional team of installers will also assist with setting-up more sophisticated barriers. But to begin with:
- Secure your Wi-Fi network
You can secure your network by making sure you change the default password on your router and using a strong unique password. You should also enable WPA2 encryption to prevent unauthorised access.
- Use strong passwords for your devices
Make sure you use strong and totally unique passwords for all your smart home devices. Avoid using the same password for multiple devices or accounts as this can make it easier for hackers to gain access to your personal information.
- Keep your software up to date
Ensure your devices and software are regularly updated with the new security downloads and latest version announcements. This will help protect from known viruses and keep devices running smoothly.
- Use two-factor authentication
Many smart home devices now support two-factor authentication, adding an extra layer of security to your accounts. With the two-stage authorisation process just enter a code sent to your phone or email in addition to your password and thwart unauthorised users from using your data.
- Understand data harvesting
In conclusion, smart homes offer many practical and convenience benefits, but there are risks to consider. By following the above steps, you can help to protect your privacy and ensure your domain is secure while reaping all the fun and benefits of smart living. It’s time to get your home connected and safely enjoy the smart revolution.