GET SMART! How tech­nol­ogy will change your home


The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - - Extra Saturday -

Doors that au­to­mat­i­cally lock when you leave home, garage doors that rise when you re­turn, TVs that turn black when you fall asleep, and cup­board sen­sors that help you de­ter­mine who has been steal­ing the choco­late bis­cuits.

This mix of quirky and con­ve­nient smart home tech­nol­ogy is com­ing to Aus­tralia next year as tech com­pa­nies race to lead what is fore­cast to be­come a $276 bil­lion mar­ket by 2022.

And “dumb” homes are ex­pected to get a ma­jor boost early next year as Sam­sung re­leases its smart home prod­ucts in Aus­tralia, con­nect­ing ev­ery­thing from lights and se­cu­rity cam­eras to wash­ing ma­chines and vac­uum clean­ers to the in­ter­net so users can em­ploy them from afar.

An­a­lysts pre­dict Sam­sung’s launch will change the way we clean the house, do the wash­ing, or­der gro­ceries and even the way we play with our pets.

But they also warn smart ap­pli­ance buy­ers not to be­come com­pla­cent about the se­cu­rity of these al­ways-con­nected de­vices so they don’t be­come an un­wanted win­dow into our pri­vate lives.

Sam­sung fi­nally launched the first of its SmartThings de­vices for homes this week in part­ner­ship with Vic­to­rian in­sur­ance firm, RACV. The com­pa­nies will sell early adopters a $378 Smart Home Starter Kit loaded with sen­sors they can place on doors and win­dows for se­cu­rity, and de­vices to de­tect tem­per­a­tures and move­ment.

Sam­sung Elec­tron­ics Aus­tralia cat­e­gory man­age­ment head Eric Chou says the kit in­cludes pro­fes­sional in­stal­la­tion — an ad­di­tion de­signed to help users get the most out of the tech­nol­ogy and ad­dress com­plaints that smart home gad­gets were too dif­fi­cult to use.

When in­stalled cor­rectly, Chau says, the SmartThings gad­gets could “au­to­mate” com­mon sce­nar­ios, mak­ing life eas­ier for users.

“When you leave the home in the morn­ing, for ex­am­ple, it could dim the lights, turn on your se­cu­rity sen­sors, lock the doors and turn on your ro­bot vac­uum cleaner,” he says.

The tech­nol­ogy could also turn lights off in other rooms when you go to bed, he says, or cool your house as you travel home from work, set the scene for movie night, or warn you when the iron had been left on or your clothes are washed and wait­ing to be hung out.

Chau says Sam­sung’s SmartThings de­vices would be launched in Aus­tralia over the next six months, with a key fo­cus on home se­cu­rity and con­nected light­ing.

The sys­tem cur­rently works with 25 brands of smart prod­ucts in Aus­tralia, he says, but

would grow to sup­port more mod­els over time.

But Sam­sung is not the only tech firm try­ing to con­vince Aus­tralians to con­nect more ev­ery­day items to the in­ter­net.

Smart home spe­cial­ists Nest has re­leased out­door and in­door cam­eras, and even smart smoke alarms in Aus­tralia.

Ama­zon-owned Ring, which makes videostream­ing door­bells and spot­lights, is also mak­ing an im­pact on Aus­tralian home se­cu­rity.

Tel­syte manag­ing di­rec­tor Foad Fadaghi said smart home tech­nol­ogy would sky­rocket in Aus­tralia over the next three years, pre­dict­ing each house­hold would own more than 36 in­ter­net-con­nected de­vices by 2022.

Global in­tel­li­gence firm In­ter­na­tional Data Cor­po­ra­tion pre­dicts smart home tech­nol­ogy will boom over the next four years, with 939 mil­lion de­vices shipped in 2022, in a mar­ket that will be worth more than $276 bil­lion.

IDC con­sumer in­ter­net-ofthings se­nior re­search an­a­lyst Adam Wright says smart speak­ers and smart­phone voice as­sis­tants would pave the way for homes to be­come smarter with users be­com­ing more ac­cus­tomed to ask­ing for ma­chines to do their bid­ding.

“While it’s still early days for the smart home mar­ket — and the wider con­sumer IoT ecosys­tem in gen­eral — we ex­pect to see con­sid­er­able growth over the next few years, es­pe­cially as con­sumers be­come more aware and in­creas­ingly in­ter­act with smart as­sis­tant plat­forms like Ama­zon’s Alexa and Google As­sis­tant,” he says.

Fadaghi warns, how­ever, that Aus­tralians are still “con­cerned” about the pri­vacy im­pli­ca­tions of these lis­ten­ing de­vices, and about who could ac­cess their smart home net­works.

Is­sues in­her­ent in the tech­nol­ogy were high­lighted this week when a hacker ad­mit­ted tak­ing con­trol of more than 50,000 con­nected print­ers and guid­ing them to­wards a YouTube ac­count.

“Spread the word about printer and printer se­cu­rity — this is ac­tu­ally a scary mat­ter,” the Twit­ter user, call­ing him­self TheHack­erGi­raffe, ex­plained.

Unisys Aus­tralia Pa­cific se­cu­rity ser­vices di­rec­tor Ash­win Pal says users should turn on au­to­matic se­cu­rity soft­ware up­dates to avoid sim­i­lar hack­ing at­tempts.

Help­ing hands (from top) smart phone se­cu­rity app; LG per­sonal as­sis­tant ro­bot; Sam­sung smart fridge. Pic­ture: Getty Im­ages

Dig­i­tal Res­i­dence con­sul­tant Sam Din­ham. Pic­ture: Liam Kid­ston

Smart Things mo­tion sen­sor is sold by Sam­sung and RACV.

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