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Smart Living Journal

Discussing Home Automation Concerns

For the past decade, smart home technology has been viewed as something that only the incredibly wealthy, or incredibly technologically aware, possess. High prices, complicated installations, and intricate technology have contributed to the belief that a completely automated home was something reserved for movie superhero alter-egos of the Clark Kent variety, and millionaires. Recently, however, the rapid proliferation of mobile internet and smartphones, along with an increasing number of companies choosing to invest in more user intuitive home automation products, has made the idea of a “smart home” more attainable than ever.
So if a system is more affordable, and easily connects to products many homeowners already have, why isn’t everyone opting for a more intelligent, wireless home? We turned to social media to find the answers, and what we found, using data from
Viral Heat, was that while over 50% of Twitter users discussing home automation were entirely positive about the idea, around 25% still had concerns regarding home automation systems. The top concerns are discussed below:

Home Automation is Too Expensive
The top concern regarding home automation systems was the fear that the best systems were still out of a reasonable price range for many homeowners. While it’s true that completely automating your home, from security to home theater, to climate control, might be pricier than you’d like, it’s also true that most systems aren’t an all-or-nothing choice. Take the Control4 System as an example. With Control4, the available options range from multi-room music, lighting, and even door and window locks, but buyers do not have to purchase the entire system with all its accessories at once. Bits and pieces of additional items, starting with what is most important to each homeowner, can easily place the system within anyone’s budget. After buyers have chosen their core components, they can decide to add on, or leave the system as is, over the next years.

Home Automation Will Make You Lazy
Whether it started as a joke, or even as a positive attribute for those looking to do less, it seems that a good number of people believe that increased home automation will result in being increasingly lazy. Similar to the health concerns regarding people who more often opt to drive a mile away rather than walk or bike, the idea of technology taking over simple tasks causes concern that humanity will end up in a future similar to the animated movie Wall-E’s predictions: obese, immobile, and unable to complete even small processes on our own. While this may be true for those who allow themselves to become lazy, for others increased home automation is actually used to reduce worries and creates more free time to participate in increased activity. You can keep tabs on whether your doors are locked, your heat is turned down, and if your appliances and lights are turned on and off. Less worry about the simple tasks leaves more time to use your energy on what you truly want to be doing, whether that means work, hobbies, or relaxation. Who knows, it may even give you more time to hit the gym!

Being Hacked
The fear of systems being hacked has been prevalent since the internet was created and the first viruses set loose. There was also the widely discussed Forbes article detailing how one man hacked into eight different smarthomes by simply searching the systems on the web. Granted, he was only able to turn lights on and off, and flush toilets, but for some he could open the garage door, which is often the weakest point in a home’s security system. The flaws that were discovered through the company Insteon’s apps were due to the creators putting too much faith in the home security network, which some of their customers did not have fully protected. Top automation systems like Control4, however, have ensured through password protection and further security steps on all of their apps, that this is not an issue with their products. They also proactively warn customers about potential issues, even if the problems seem minor.

An interesting fear for homeowners was that home automation systems were somehow wasteful. Whether it be the price, which was discussed above, or the added electrical components, some people were determined to believe that the expenses and energy used were not efficient, when it is actually the opposite. Increased control over energy, especially lights, heating, and appliances, results in a highly efficient home that is greener, cleaner, and less wasteful. Motorized shades and sensors also mean less dependency on indoor lighting and heating, since the sun can either be blocked out or used to its full heating potential. In addition, homeowners no longer have to worry about accidentally leaving appliances running, since a smart home can easily turn these systems off automatically.

By guest blogger: Elizabeth Eckhart