Today, it is not breaking news to learn that if you are a smart home lover, you are 100% being listened to day in and day out by your devices. If you read our first article on the topic, you hopefully wrote down a list of the many different devices in your smart home and have identified many different products that work on a command-based system. If you have not read it yet, don’t panic. Take a second now to think about the devices you may own – your Google Nest, Ring Doorbell, Security systems, etc… Got ‘em? Okay, good.
In all honesty, the devices you own are likely either app-based or voice commanded. To elaborate, the product you brought into your home is there to adhere to your needs and questions. Meaning, is your Google Nest always listening to what you say? Well, yes, the basic functionality of these devices is simple, as they listen to you until you speak the programmed command for it to leap into action. For example, for “Hey Google, set a timer” or “Alexa, restart the song” to work, these devices not only know when they must act, but they must also know when they shouldn’t. Everything you say is heard and received! Scared yet? Well, you shouldn’t be, as your phone has been doing this for eons. Why else would your phone show you ads for products you have already searched for or talked about? Come on, people!
If this is news to you, there is a good chance that your heart just skipped a beat. If not, you may already know that all of these devices work off of what is known as the Internet of Things, or IoT for short. The name essentially defines itself, but for technical purposes, IoT is defined as an extension of the internet and other network connections of sensors and devices or “things” – affording even simple objects (such as light bulbs, locks, and vents) a higher degree of computing and analytical capabilities.1 This system is the magic behind all of the wonderful luxuries and conveniences we share in the digital world. Seriously, your fitness tracker runs off IoT. Your security system’s motion detector lights, also IoT-based. If your appliances connect by WIFI, the same result. As of 2020, there were more than 50 billion IoT devices. Surely, there are more to come.1
The love-hate relationship we rely on
You know the cliché saying “you have to give to get”. Well, smart home technology is no different. When you use a product that encompasses IoT functionality, you inherently allow your information, personal data or not, to be released to the depths of the internet. Data, personalization, you name it. When you buy a smartphone, you welcome data sharing.
In fact, that is why you buy it! In your home, your Amazon Prime account connects to your Amazon Echo for a reason. So, in a sense, we are giving up our data for the things we crave as a modern society – luxury and convenience. For example, our home security systems do collect pieces of our data, but they also make our homes a safer place to live. They allow you to unlock the door for your child when they are locked out via the click of a button on your phone. They allow us to see who is ringing our doorbell at 9 PM when nobody is home. These are things we signed up for. The things we crave.
Photo by Sebastian Scholz (Nuki) on Unsplash
Things to ponder
Ok, admittedly, we could go on and on with “give to get” examples regarding smart home technology, but we won’t. Instead, it might be best to simply think deeper about IoT and our dependency on it as a global society.
Do you think we’ve gone too far in letting technology enter our private spaces at home? Do the pros outweigh the cons? Can we ever live a life without smart home devices at this point? What would your life look like if you began using these devices more, or less?
There are lots to think about, though hopefully, the pondering inspires you. Perhaps you might come up with your own smart home tech idea! Even cooler. Nonetheless, we want to know your answers to these questions and thoughts on IoT/Smart Homes as a whole. So, don’t forget to drop a comment or send us an email. Let’s chat, people!
Header image: By thanmano