The purpose of this paper is to analyze and provide recommendations on an article discussing smart home system technology. According to Jager, Phan, & Nadschlager (2016), in their article, “The trustworthiness of data in smart homes,” the following issues are increasingly relevant in modern society:
The use of smart-home systems
The communication of security related to smart devices
The application of technology in everyday life.
Related to these issues, the researchers explore the concept of trust within the realm of a smart home, and within the idea of using technology in smart homes. Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) go on to question whether the following types of trust can be associated with smart homes that rely on technology:
Can trusting beliefs be built? The authors question whether trusting beliefs including concepts like secure conviction or competence be associated with smart homes and the devices used within these homes.
Can trusting intentions be associated with smart homes? Relative to this, Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) question whether users have a secure and committed willingness to depend on technology, and even become vulnerable to technology in the event that it fails to function as it should within the home.
Can trusting behaviors be used to allow users to enjoy smart home technology? In this sense, Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) question whether individuals using smart homes can depend and rely on other parties, or those controlling internet technology, instead of their own machinations to regulate their home and living environment.
These issues have increasingly permeated the forefront of smart technology as more users are learning to engage with and trust IT or technology as a functioning and critical part of their home life and the comfort they expect to enjoy in their homes. While smart homes and smart home systems continue to give rise to new uses and the development of modern technologies, there is some question by the authors as to whether smart-home security has aligned with modern smart-home system industries. According to some researchers, including Aldrich (2003), guidelines must be put into place so that home security concerns may be adequately addressed by individuals that are most likely to invest in these technologies.
Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) go on to question whether smart-homes are capable of maintaining a higher level of comfort and improving ease of use when they place consumers and users at risk for security breaches. Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) note that the use of smart systems in the home may include the use of a clock or display that is always visible and systems that automatically adjust heating and cooling to meet consumer needs. Jager, Phan & Nadshlager point out that security should be a primary concern among smart home developers and users. Related to these, communication of security measures regarding the use of smart devices may need to be put into place to prevent cyber-attacks from destroying the trust and security users place in their homes when using smart devices.
Smart devices, whether they manage the security in a home or provide comfort assistance in the home, all have one element in common; these devices provide services using mobile applications or web pages that attempt to make access to home systems as simple as possible (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). Occasionally, however, the researchers note that simplicity and use of smart devices may come at a security cost. For example, many smart services offered in homes are currently available and easily accessed without permissions or any form of security or authentication procedures (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). The authors point out that lax security can lead to complacency or a feeling among consumers that smart devices will take care of everything that is necessary for comfortable and convenient living, including security. This is not always the case however, and such thinking can lead to high-security impacts, including breaches of security (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016).
As an example, a home owner may install a smart-home security system, which consists of a security system. This may be located at the front door; often a homeowner will utilize such a system without checking to determine whether their security system may be compromised, or may have been compromised by a potential intruder with the goal of burglarizing the home (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). There are assistive measures that can be taken, including ensuring that information contains added security measures. However, users of smart technology sometimes argue that additional steps should not be needed to ensure security, as part of the purpose of using smart devices is to provide consumers with easier-to-use products and services sans additional worry (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016).
Increasingly citizens throughout the world are embracing what is known as “smart” technology, which is best defined as devices that are connected by technology and designed to help consumers operate devices, or their homes, with greater simplicity and ease (David, 2016; Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). The authors of the article by Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) note that smart homes may include a central control system that is charged with ensuring that all devices work appropriately, and are communicating appropriately with each other to respond to the activities of humans living inside of the home.
Without a central control system, use of smart devices within a home may require too much maintenance, making use of such products and mobile devices inefficient at best. Smart technology has increasingly been considered on the cutting edge of technology, providing innovative solutions to consumers that increasingly desired fast, affordable, and convenient services. However, with the use of smart technology, including smart homes, new risks have developed. These risks include a risk for security breaches associated with cybersecurity attacks or DDoS (directed denial of service) attacks that are more feasible when consumers use a wide range of internet technology (David, 2016).
Smart technology is no longer limited to smartphones or related mobile devices. This seems appealing, initially, until consumers recognize that the use of household appliances that are connected to smart technology may lead to a cyber-attack, resulting in chaos, and preventing consumers from operating their homes with ease. In fact, smart home devices are increasingly being used to spy on consumers even though security has been a primary focus on organizations committed to developing and increasing the use of smart technology (David, 2016). Research suggests that the number of smart devices currently utilized in smart homes exceeds 6 billion (David, 2016).
There are many examples of how smart technology or smart homes can work effectively and can fail. The authors note that lights using smart technology can automatically detect when there is movement, and turn on; similarly, the same lights may turn off and windows may close when they detect humans leaving home (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). Smart homes can also help to save energy by increasing or decreasing electrical power to certain devices when they are active or inactive within a home; an individual living in a smart home may never have to worry about their iron being left on, for example (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). An iron or other smart device would simply turn off after a period where the smart object was not used. Such products may play a critical role in supporting a more convenient life.
One of the primary issues that Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) raise in their article is whether users can trust smart technology, and the people that create or monitor such devices. They also question what the meaning of trust is when it comes to trusting technology, or a machine compared with trusting a human. While humans may inadvertently create inanimate objects like a plane to take them from one location to another safety, without thought, the same trust may not be apparent or inherently given to smart items that are engaged within a home (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). This may be because smart homes incorporate the web and technology into so many key areas of a consumer’s private life.
Smart homes are likely to increase in demand and production as consumers become increasingly accustomed to innovation. This article brings to light important considerations within the world of smart homes. Among the important concepts raised by the authors and other researchers, are the extent to which guidelines have been adequately developed to assist in ensuring the security of citizens using smart homes and mobile devices within their homes. As a result of the research, it has become clear that additional guidelines are necessary to help guide homeowners interested in smart systems. Smart systems may still be a logical choice for many homeowners, particularly those interested in easing the means by which they control multiple systems within their homes.
Some research suggests that smart homes effectively use algorithms from artificial intelligence and are gaining in the amount of data available to do this effectively for consumers (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). However, as with any new technology or innovation, data can only be collected over time and with increasing use. Hence, it is impossible to predict the true level of security and safety that consumers using smart homes may expect until additional time passes. In other words, the safety of smart home systems will only be predicted over time. Smart home users should be considered as potential security threats, particularly those raised by hackers and technology experts interested in stealing personal information or overtaking smart home devices (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). This article suggests that more effort must be given to smart-home security systems, rather than the simple innovation and utilization of smart home systems within consumer homes.
The researchers make a valid point. There may be instances, including emergencies, which prevent smart home users from effectively using smart technology except in a passive manner (Jager, Phan & Nadschlager, 2016). As with any product, users and purchasers should be provided with comprehensive guidelines regarding the risks and benefits associated with the use of smart home systems. If a fire were to develop in a home, and smart home system technology was to fail, it is possible that residents living in the home may suffer terrible losses. However, with proper guidance, education, training, and a backup plan for safety, failure of a system may not prove so critical and disastrous. Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) bring to light an important need in the safe home security and device industry.
This need represents a current gap that exists in research specific to smart home systems and technology. Hopefully, in the near future, additional guidelines and protocols can be issued to ensure that smart home system users have the technology, information, and knowledge necessary to not only use smart home systems effectively, but also to have alternative means of controlling their home system if failure, a cyber-attack, or other emergent situation occurs. Jager, Phan & Nadschlager (2016) bring to light a critical concern and area of interest for smart home technology developers and security manufacturers. As with any new innovation, only time will tell whether smart home technology proves useful or fails relative to safety, security, and emergency protocols.