Smart Homes - How Do They Work?

15 June 2017

 

Put your feet up. Your smart home will take care of everything.

From intelligent lighting control and heating, to CCTV and multi-room audio and visual systems, home automation, or the ‘smart home’, has become a modern day reality. Controlling what happens at home via your mobile phone is becoming the norm thanks to the internet making its way into everything from appliances to thermostats. And there’s even an internet-connected kettle to make sure you don’t have to wait too long for that well-needed cuppa when you get home…

 

“The ultimate goal of the connected home is to be so user-friendly, unobtrusive and convenient that we just refer to it as ‘home’ and grow nostalgic thinking about analogue homes. Today, the connected home consists of individually-connected ‘smart’ items. The challenge is to embed a seamless, multi-vendor experience as standard in new builds, without extra cost to the consumer. For existing homes, the connected home revolution will be driven through brands and increasing consumer tech cycles over the next three to five years.” Jonny Voon, Lead Technologist of IoT – Innovate UK

 

How does it all work?

 

When home devices are controlled and monitored remotely via the internet, from washing machines and ovens, to smoke detectors and keyless connected smart locks, this shows just how far the ‘Internet of Things’ has infiltrated our everyday lives. Modern systems are usually made up of switches and sensors that are connected to a central hub, sometimes referred to as a ‘gateway’, where the system is controlled through a user interface connected by either a wall-mounted terminal, tablet, smartphone software or web interface, and not always by the internet cloud.

 

Security concerns?

 

Being surrounded by WiFi connected things in your house may make everyday life a bit easier, but it also means that personal information is being collected all the time about the way you live, as these devices are constantly watching you. That’s why it’s important to choose gadgets you trust.

And experts have warned that technology such as smart electricity meters can be dangerously insecure, with hackers potentially able to carry out fraud, and even cause explosions and house fires because of the lack of security in the smart utilities. However, a spokesperson for the UK government’s department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy said, “Robust security controls are in place across the end to end smart metering system and all devices must be independently assessed by an expert security organisation, irrespective of their country of origin.”

 

So, hopefully we don’t need to worry too much about our electricity meters blowing up anytime soon…

 

Be smart. Reduce e-waste through secure computer recycling.

 

With the growing number of connected devices showing no sign of relenting, the importance of responsible computer recycling has never been more vital, if you want to play your part in reducing potentially health and environmentally-harming e-waste, as well as keeping your data secure. So if your company is one that is committed to the ethical recycling of its obsolete computers and technology products, make sure secure and environmentally friendly computer recycling that adheres to proper recycling regulations is part of your consideration. It’s also important to be aware that companies are now legally obliged to safely dispose of potentially sensitive information in accordance with current security laws and the Data Protection Act of 1998. Be sure only to use a computer recycling company that operates in accordance with, and preferably exceeds all government guidelines such as the WEEE Directive and the Data Protection Act.


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