CES 2017: What homeowners wish security installers knew about home automation

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Bryn Huntpalmer lives in Austin, Texas where she currently works as editor-in-chief of Modernize with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.
January 9, 2017

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No one could argue that we’re not in the throes of a big shift for home security.

The emergence of smart security has for the most part, been a good thing: it’s allowed for more adaptable cameras and accurate alarms, and given homeowners more control over their systems while they’re away from the home.

However, it’s also left many homeowners struggling to keep up with devices and developments.

Where before, the main model for security was through a professional monitoring service and alarm, today’s homeowners have a wide range of options available at their fingertips – everything from self-service DIY cameras and locks to smart monitoring services through a professional security provider.

Consumer surveys show that the vast majority of customers still prefer a professional service to one they set up and monitor by themselves, but security services will need to adapt if they want to remain competitive with DIY systems

Consumer surveys show that the vast majority of customers still prefer a professional service to one they set up and monitor by themselves, but security services will need to adapt if they want to remain competitive with DIY systems. Here’s how security professionals can meet the changing needs of homeowners in the burgeoning era of IoT.

How to install DIY equipment

As it gets bundled into the rest of the home IoT universe, there’s more of a tendency for homeowners to view security equipment as another branch of their home’s automation, rather than as a separate system.

While professionally installed security systems offer homeowners many pros – namely, 24/7 monitoring – the DIY market is definitely growing.

Buying and installing equipment on their own allows homeowners to pick and choose their own products—and ensure that what they’re buying is compatible with home hubs and other devices.

And the ability to avoid monthly fees is tempting enough that many are willing to risk going without constant surveillance.

That doesn’t mean that homeowners don’t need professional assistance, however – it just means that monitoring services may need to adapt their business model to include DIY setups.

For instance, a system like LiveWatch Plug & Protect is a DIY device with professional monitoring capabilities. Those installers that support similar devices will profit in the future, particularly since homeowners have questions about how amateur installations affect insurance rates.

At the very least, security companies should allow homeowners more freedom to customize systems with the devices and services they really want, else they lose more customers to the DIY market.

In one case a journalist was able to hack into a youth development centre’s security system simply by entering the word “admin” for the username and password

How to prevent IT security flaws

Should I install my own firewall? How can I keep my password more secure? Can this equipment be hacked?

A quick Google search reveals hundreds of reports of hacked or dangerously vulnerable home security systems. IT sites just love to take these devices and prove how easily they can be broken into – in one case a journalist was able to hack into a youth development centre’s security system simply by entering the word “admin” for the username and password.

And although that might seem like a rare case, the truth is, most homeowners are terrible at picking secure passwords. A LinkedIn hack this spring revealed that the favorite password was “123456” – used by over 700,000 accounts.

WiFi setup too, opens homeowners up to flaws, leaving routers unencrypted, or firmware badly out of date. Many homeowners know that they’re in over their head when it comes to securing networks and devices, but they don’t exactly know where to turn for help.

Here, again, security services could help. In fact, when the security provider alarm.com questioned homeowners about what they wanted from smart device makers, they found that better customer support was high on their list. A whopping 85 percent said they’d be more interested in smart home products if they could count on reliable support.

Integrating IT services into professional security systems would definitely be a way for providers to edge out the do-it-yourself model, since a trained professional could not only help users set up systems securely, but also answer questions during a security event.

How to set up home ‘applets’

Thanks to the integration of the IFTTT – ”if this, then that” – protocol into smart devices like Alexa, Nest, and Whirlpool, homeowners will soon be accustomed to applets, collections of actions triggered by a unique event.

Many devices on the market are moving to this philosophy of smart device control: managing groups of actions as “scenes”, for instance. Saying the word “bedtime” aloud can set off a variety of security-related events: locking the doors and windows, setting the alarm, turning on security lights outdoors.

As the popularity of IoT security grows, professional installers can help homeowners by learning how to program and customize popular applets. That means they also might need to grow more familiar with the capabilities and limitations of other, non-security-related devices, so that homeowners can organize actions more fluidly.

All in all, the more flexible security providers can make their services, the better off they’ll be in the coming years, capturing those homeowners who want professional security advice, but don’t want to pay the price in poor device compatibility and capabilities.

Bryn Huntpalmer lives in Austin, Texas where she currently works as editor-in-chief of Modernize with the goal of empowering homeowners with the expert guidance and educational tools they need to take on big home projects with confidence.

 

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Sahib Ahluwalia
Sahib Ahluwalia
January 10, 2017 10:09 am

Automation whether at home or in businesses is a growing trend. There is a need for finding the right technology that adds security and automation together using IoT. Currently IoT is being used in various enterprises in the retail, logistics, banking and other sectors to provise security and convenience. 

http://gizmosupport.com/using-internet-of-things-for-warehouse-surveillance/

SteveaRenoKnows
SteveaRenoKnows
February 14, 2017 6:40 pm

If you are old enough to remember back in the 70’s, microwaves were fairly new. Now try to find a kitchen that DOESN’T have a microwave or a combo microwave/convection oven. That’ the way home automation will be- in the next 3-5 years everyone will have a system to control lighting, security, HVAC, doors, and almost every other gadget imaginable. It’s going to be a really fun next few years!