Smart home technology can be fantastic when everything is operating properly, but a recent article in Global News.ca highlights the potential problems when a network fails.
When Amazon’s S3 cloud storage service was struck by a massive outage, services were disrupted not only for popular websites but also for smart home networks. With more homes becoming connected, this raises the possibility of being unable to do something as simple as turning the light if your network is down. It sounds ridiculous, but has the potential for being extremely irritating. Devices that were reliant on Amazon Web servers for their functionality could not be used during the outage and while being unable to turn on lights is something that can be overcome by keeping a store of older style electric light bulbs nearby, the failure of other smart home devices, in particular, thermostats could be more problematic.
The article points out this could be a real concern in for people who are ill or who have young children and whose health will be affected by being in a cold house. Homeowners who happen to be away during an outage could face the possibility of pipes freezing up and bursting, causing major damage to their property. Nest, one of the most popular smart thermostats can apparently be controlled by users even if there is a problem with their Wi-Fi network or if the device is off-line. But if the service for Nest is off-line, there is a possibility that users may have to wait for service to be resumed before they can get their thermostat back online.
At the moment, relatively few people fully utilize the Internet of Things, but adoption of these devices is expected to continue growing. As such, the Internet of Things has come under close scrutiny quite recently for its lack of security. Often devices do not have sufficient protection from hackers or consumers do not understand how to implement the security settings to protect themselves. It has been suggested that malware designed specifically to infect smart devices will become far more commonplace during the next few years. These smart devices may help make our lives run more smoothly, but there are definitely challenges that still need to be resolved.
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