What is an automated home?

The home of the future is here. By adding smart appliances and devices you can control from anywhere, you can make home living a lot more convenient. But what's the catch?

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Picture this: At 7 AM, your alarm rings and your bedroom lights turn on. On your nightstand, your smart assistant reads out the daily news, the weather, and the traffic conditions. You go to take a shower while your coffee machine prepares you a cup of coffee. Your smart pet feeder fills in your dog's food bowl. After leaving for work, your Roomba vacuums the house. Your security systems are tightened, and your sprinklers start watering your garden, knowing that it'll be a sunny day. Since you've run out of milk and eggs this morning, your fridge automatically places an order for you. After a long day of work, you return home with your groceries by the door, your heating turned up, and a hot tub prepared.

The above scenario is an example of an automated home.

Home automation refers to utilising a network of internet-connected everyday devices to give homeowners remote control of their household appliances and systems.

As an element of the IoT ecosystem, these different devices often work together under a unified system to communicate a consumer's data and information with each other. As a result, homeowners can remotely control vital home functions (e.g. heating, lighting, audio-visual, security systems, cleaning etc.) through a smartphone, voice control, or automatically managed by the devices themselves.

Smart home devices can be controlled from your phone, allowing you to change its settings when you're away from home.

An automated home could range from having a singular smart speaker to having a complete set-up ecosystem that powers your entire house. The smart devices that build this ecosystem are all IoT devices, and home automation is an example of the practical use case of IoT in an everyday setting.

As with other IoT devices, tech companies market smart home devices as the next revolutionary thing, guaranteeing convenience to enable households to live happier, healthier lifestyles. Even though most devices come built-in with security measures, connecting your entire home to the internet will make your home vulnerable to hackers, data breaches, and an invasion of privacy. The issue becomes increasingly concerning if you have children at home since some devices may require you or your child's personal information to function correctly.

Smart home devices that introduce simplicity are inclusive to all users, are fair and just, and protect users at all times, is unfortunately, a dream that has not yet come true. However, with the automated home increasingly becoming an inescapable reality, the least you can do is understand the risks and mitigate any potential harm from these technologies.

More to Explore:

Here's further advice and resources to support parents and children on this issue:

Home automation and 'Internet of things' is great — but think about privacy and security

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How to Secure Smart Home Devices

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Smart Home: Threats and Countermeasures

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