Gadget Advisor

Will Smart Homes Revolutionize Home Security?

Smart homes have made the leap from Sci-Fi to Sci-Fact. Innovative new tech firms are releasing home security systems which promise greater convenience and control. Consumers now have an expansive range of smart home security systems to choose from, as their popularity continues to rise and the demand for them grows.

Most allow you to control the system from your fingertips. By simply downloading an app on your smartphone you can keep tabs on your house from wherever you are. However, hack fears are ever looming, with experts highlighting the risks of people being able to hack into these systems.

The are multiple means for hackers do this, such as via search engines like Shodan that let users find information about specific types of computers connected to the internet. This in turn makes home automation devices easy to locate. Despite the ever growing popularity of these automated home security systems and the benefits they bring, will this trend continue with the risks of such technology becoming more apparent?

Sophisticated security systems offer greater security control

A vast range of home automation security systems are now on the market. Remo+ have launched a wireless, over-the-door smart security camera called the DoorCam. This sends buyers real-time and recorded HD video content from outside their front door, and the device’s 160-degree peripheral field of vision means homeowners can see everything happening in the vicinity of their home. The system also allows them to communicate with any visitor via full duplex audio.

Tech company SimpliSafe’s home security system is anchored by a base station of a 10.5-inch cone. Buyers position a keypad within 100 feet of the cone, powered by a lithium battery. After setting up sensors up to 400 feet from their home, the SIM will facilitate the system’s cellular communication and set off an 85-decibel siren if the property is breached. This is immediately shot to a monitoring centre for somebody to check out the security warning.

These systems therefore add an extra layer of protection to your house, either allowing you or somebody else to always be in control of your home security, no matter where you are.

The potential pitfalls of DIY Smart Home security installation

In comparison to traditional burglar alarms that require a skilled technician to set up, these wireless systems are supposedly simpler to install. In fact, many companies actively encourage you to set them up yourself. For example SimpliSafe actually express that their installations are all meant to be DIY. The production description states that ‘SimpliSafe’s wireless service is easily within a homeowners’ skill set to assemble—so no more drill-happy technicians turning your front porch into Swiss cheese.’

However, despite proclamations of the ease and safety of setting up these systems by the companies that sell them, there could be many risks of doing so. One of the major problems that could arise is being hacked. Experts warned at the end of 2016 that the number of attacks on the Internet of Things (IoT) was likely to increase in 2017. With IoT including devices like home security systems, they are crawlable by search engines and therefore locatable through a simple Google search. In some cases where the system’s manufacturers do not set a default username and password to protect the network, and the owner doesn’t set new ones, their system could be remotely controlled by a hacker. Terrifying.

According to security experts Banham, wireless alarm installation should never be a DIY task. Although many technology companies emphasise the ease of installing them yourself, in reality this installation requires careful consideration from a trained professional. Prior to installation, a property may have to be surveyed; this is a task only a security expert can carry out. Their knowledge on where to place the systems and ability to explain how to use them are additional valuable aspects of a professional installation. Security experts also offer a number of other services to supplement your wireless security system, such as maintenance and monitoring of it.

Are smart homes still the future of home security?

With companies like Google rolling out wireless security and the global home automation system market expected to grow from $35.24 billion in 2016 to $113.82 billion by 2025, it looks like wireless security systems are here to stay.

The fact that the invention is in its infancy means the problems we have seen are likely to keep cropping up for the time being, yet, it is evident that there are a whole host of benefits from smart homes that can really improve your home security.

Smart Homes have clearly revolutionized home security, but for now we need to be very careful.