Given the Nest thermostat glitch, are we anywhere near ready for the connected home?
By Yigal Behar, CEO of 2Secure, a privately owned Information Technology security consultant firm based in Philadelphia
Most people by now are aware of the benefits of the Internet of Things (IoT), and having all kinds of devices connected to the Internet. When these ordinary appliances are turned into 'smart' objects by virtue of feedback data from the cloud, they become much more capable than their standalone (un-connected) cousins. Lately however, there are signs that the potential benefits may be outweighed by the potential for disaster, and some well-publicized failures are causing people to re-consider their enthusiastic support of smart devices. 'Smart' failures
The most widely known failure of a smart device was this year's infamous Nest Thermostat glitch, which made the smart thermostat unable to connect to the Internet as it should. The company's co-founder, Matt Rogers, blamed a software update which occurred in December, but did not emerge as a problem for a couple weeks after. Around the world, purchasers of the Nest device found their homes chilled when the device failed to connect to the Internet, having serious consequences for the elderly and young babies.
Wireless fobs for keyless entry cars are supposed to be smart devices that make ignition easier, but they have also been found to be easier prey for car thieves. Security door pads and other smart security systems have locked owners out of homes and sounded alarms in the middle of the night without reason. Fitbit activity trackers have been failing to record wearers' activity rates recently, and for users with heart problems, this can have dire repercussions.
Given the widespread failure of the Nest Thermostat glitch, and the alarming incidence of other smart device failures, are we really ready for the fully connected home? Do we really want to give over control of important household functions to devices that sometimes don't act very 'smart'?