IoT, or “Internet of Things” is part of the evolution of smart devices. Smartphones already perform a wide variety of tasks that make life easier. IoT hopes to connect the devices people use every day to smart devices like phones and tablets, as well as to each other. If this sounds rather abstract, here are some example scenarios of a few IoT uses. Imagine having your coffee maker brew you a hot cup of coffee when you turn your morning alarm off, setting your front porch light to turn on at sundown, or automatically unlocking your front door when you pull into your garage. These tasks may not save you a great deal of time or effort individually, but when they all work together, they will virtually eliminate the tedious tasks people spend time on throughout the day, freeing them up to focus on more important things. Sounds pretty cool, right?
If you think homeowners are lining up by the masses to buy devices that promise to make their homes smarter, surprisingly, you'd be wrong. Many are hesitant to embrace this technology. They have some concerns that are deterring them from taking the leap. First off, there is the fear of hackers. With new devices it is not uncommon for hackers to test their limits, sometimes to help identify vulnerabilities that need to be patched, sometimes for less virtuous reasons. No matter how much security may be implemented in a smart device, many people wouldn’t be comfortable protecting their home, for example, with something that stands a remote possibility of being hacked. Next, there are privacy concerns. Companies already track and analyze a plethora of data on their users, but homeowners are weary of how much more data they would be volunteering by implementing smart devices into every aspect of their lives. Complexity is another concern. While the intention of these devices is to make life simpler, understanding how to configure and control them may mean learning something new, and spending a lot of time initially setting them up. Competing standards create a problem as well. With different devices using different methods of communicating with each other, they are not all compatible with one another. This can create quite a bit of difficulty. And lastly, homeowners don’t always have a clear idea of the impacts these devices will have on their home value and insurance. Although typically IoT devices have more of a positive effect on these factors than a negative one, it is an unknown, and can give homeowners second thoughts.
IoT is still a new idea that is slowly gaining some traction. And it is likely that as more people use IoT devices and they become more common, these concerns will slowly fade as issues are addressed, and consumers will become more comfortable with them. For the time being, IoT is having some trouble taking off, but once consumers embrace it, it may prove to have the power to enrich their lives in unexpected ways.