US – From smart locks to lighting systems, smart home technology features are advancing at an accelerated rate.
According to a survey conducted by Coldwell Banker in the US last month, nearly 60 per cent of sales associates said they are seeing more smart home features in listing descriptions than they did two to five years ago, and homes with these features are selling at a faster rate.
“Smart home technology will soon be expected in homes, just like stainless steel and granite are the norm across properties today,” said Travis Gray, a sales associate affiliated with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. “In three to seven years, I foresee homes being completely outfitted with smart technology.”
According to Gray, homeowners should have at least three diverse smart home features that can do a variety of functions before they can market their property as a “smart home.”
Smart features such as the Kwikset Kevo Smart Lock and Nest Learning Thermostat are among the trendiest features sought after when buying a new home. Other top features include motion sensors and security cameras, lighting systems and entertainment.
But if you can control the locks on your doors from your phone, what will stop hackers from gaining control also?
“With Internet controls now being built into millions of appliances, it’s likely we’ll see successful smart home-hack attacks sooner rather than later,” says tech writer John Shinal. “When consumers trade control for online convenience, security usually suffers.”
ABC’s “Nightline” unsuccessfully tried to prove this point two weeks ago by inviting a professional hacker to hack into the smart home of tech writer Stacy Higginbotham. From outside the home he hacked into her wifi network but was unable to crack her home security password.
For the purpose of the news segment he was given the password and then demonstrated how he could control her appliances and unlock her doors with his computer.
But Higginbotham was unfazed, stating it was a lot of effort for someone to go through to try to break into her network.
Some of the popularity in these features stems from the money consumers can possibly save. Nest claims its Learning Thermostat can lower homeowners’ energy bills by at least 20 percent, and the iSmart alarm system allows homeowners to keep an eye on their home without the monthly fees normally associated with traditional security systems.
Although nothing can keep you 100 percent safe from modern-day lock pickers, forced software updates and strong security passwords can help, along with professional installation.