Charlene Honour, Smart Home Country Manager, Bosch
At the start of 2018, the phrase ‘smart home technology’ might have seemed daunting for many. However, fast-forward 12 months and the smart home sector has enjoyed its most successful year to date, with the UK becoming the largest growing market in Europe. But adoption is not ubiquitous yet; approximately one quarter of UK households are currently equipped with smart home devices.
Adopting the smart home concept requires careful consideration and research to decide which product, or system of products, is right for you. One of the most important considerations is price. Whether you are buying into a whole system of products or getting started with just one or two, it is important to understand if you are getting value for money, because without research it is easy to be put off by the cost. And consumers need to consider their lifestyle to better understand which products could make life easier without intruding on their daily routine.
The debate of subscription fee vs. no subscription fee is a smart home hot topic: do you want your smart home devices to have standard functionality or are you happy to pay a monthly fee that allows you to unlock their full potential? The latter type of service tends to centre on smart security cameras but can also extend to the whole system. Again, careful research is required to determine which type of set-up is for you: do you want to buy into a subscription service or for your smart home system to work straight out of the box?
In general, we all need to be vigilant about data security and hacking and, in turn, technology companies are being scrutinised more than ever. It is important to understand not only how your data is being used but also the security of the devices. Some companies will give you default passwords, while others will prompt you to create a bespoke account, so be aware of pre-existing security measures and the actions you can take to increase your devices’ security.
Moreover, projects such as the UK police’s crime prevention initiative Secured by Design and Mozilla’s Privacy Not Included aim to improve the security of smart home devices and ensure companies are more transparent with users about their data.
So, as smart home technology becomes more prevalent in our homes and lives, finding the right device or system becomes more important. Price, subscriptions and security remain key barriers to the adoption of smart home technology but research and careful consideration can ensure you make the right choice.
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