How Smart are "Smart Homes" Really?

One of the biggest trends in tech has been the boom in home protection and automation systems. A prediction of growth in smart locks alone may reach a value of $3.6 billion by 2019 (that’s 13 times the value today). Mainstreaming smart home systems is growing in popularity worldwide; and are particularly appealing to those with busy schedules keeping them out of the house. However, just because this new technology is saturating the market doesn’t guarantee it’s the best or safest option for everyone.

One of the biggest draws seem to be the compatibility with smart phones. You’ve probably seen the commercials where a man or woman is sitting on a beach in a seemingly far-off tropical locale, or in an airplane that’s about to take off, when their spouse asks them, “You remembered to lock the back door, right?” (or something to that effect); and then they pull out their smartphone to double check and secure their entire home from the comfort of an app. It’s a total game-changer and lends the feeling of security even when far from your physical property.

Many current smart locks and home security systems also come with camera capabilities or add-ons. You can receive a notification on your phone anytime your camera thinks it sees a person in your yard. Or, can let you check in on your pet, see who is at your front door, or even check in on the monthly cleaners. Other great capabilities are the access to your lights and thermostat. One of the biggest players in the smart home game, the "Nest" system, can connect to smart lights and allows you turn off your bedroom lights from your phone while you’re in bed (or mid-commute when you realize you left the living room lights on). Better yet, you can blast the heat when you’re about to step in the shower so the house is nice and toasty when you get out.

Unfortunately, there are still huge drawbacks to all these new systems. One of the biggest being that sometimes technology fails. There have been some reports that certain systems don’t always work with deadbolts. Also, installing a smart lock on one door just means that’s the door you have access to when you’re out on that faraway sandy beach and wondering if your house is secure. Things can get pretty pricey, pretty fast when you start installing smart tech all over your home. Additionally, and quite possibly most notable, is that some of this new technology can be fairly easy to hack. Not something you want to hear when the supposed upgrade really just makes you more vulnerable.

The biggest advice we have is to do your homework. Decide what types or features of home security you’re really after and focus your inquiry on safety and security. You can weigh the pros and cons all day but in this new industry, thorough research is king.

Read more on this topic here: Smart Locks 101: Pros and Cons to Know