Imagine getting off the subway and using your phone to turn on the lights in your house, power up the AC, make your evening espresso, and even unlock your door. This is what the Internet of Things (IoT) does: it connects your devices to one another through a wireless connection, essentially giving you the power to control every household device through your iPhone or laptop.
The IoT has surged in popularity over the past few years, in part due to the emergence of devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home. According to Gartner, 6.4 billion connected things were in use worldwide in 2016, and that number will reach 20.8 billion by 2020. As the Internet of Things has garnered more and more popularity, numerous companies have introduced cutting edge IoT home security systems.
Interested in taking the plunge? Here’s a quick guide to what’s available to meet your IoT security needs.
Control your home’s lighting system from your phone. Turning on the lights even when you’re not home gives the illusion that the house is occupied. Intruders are less likely to target a home with people in it, and will probably move on to an easier target.
Use biometric passwords (such as retinal scans and touch ID) to secure your home — they are generally quite safe, since they’re essentially impossible to steal. That said, these should be used in addition to a secure traditional lock, as this technology is currently not foolproof, and has been known to malfunction.
Connect your surveillance camera to your phone, and you’ll be able to view live footage of your apartment or property from wherever you are. There are even high-tech doorbell systems available that project the face of the house caller straight to your phone, so if a stranger comes knocking, you’ll know right away.
As tempting as the convenience factor may be, we don’t recommend using phone-based IoT alone. According to TripWire, more than 90% of IT experts believe that there will be an increase in IoT breaches this year. A less sinister concern is that if you forget your phone, want to let a friend in, or simply run out of battery, you could be locked out. Luckily, there are several great IoT locks that include redundancies for these types of scenarios.
I often caution against giving your key away to too many people. The great thing about IoT locks that generate temporary passcodes is you can give someone access to your home, but then “take away” the key hours or days later. This is an ideal option for people with dog walkers, Airbnb-ers, or house guests who need temporary access.
While the convenience of the Internet of things can definitely make life easier, be aware of the safety gaps you may be exposing yourself to— never doubt the power of a good old-fashioned lock used in conjunction with the latest in IoT technology.