There is no denying the fact that smart home products are everywhere. What began for most people with awareness of the smart thermostat has exploded into everything from locks, power outlets, and light bulbs, to smart appliances, vacuums, and even smart toilets. Put it all together with smart hubs meant to control everything, and you have a snapshot of something that once only existed in science fiction.
Speaker of the House
Most recently, a new major player in smart home connectivity made a significant impact on Canada’s smart home adoption rate. In June of 2017 smart speakers finally made their way across the border, with an adoption rate that is outpacing both tablets and Netflix in Canadian households. After only a year in the marketplace, Canadian smart speaker adoption is at 8%, with all signs pointing to considerable growth within the next 12 months (Edison Research).
At first glance, these speakers are simply a convenient way to play music from your smart phone or cloud; however, this basic functionality barely scratches the surface. In most households, smart speakers are paired with voice assistance platforms, which can help you do everything from turning the lights on in the bedroom to helping you decide what to make for dinner.
Privacy Over Connectivity
While many Canadian love the idea of being connected to their home 24/7, it seems that they are greatly outnumbered by those who distrust what smart home technology might mean for their privacy.
Recently, a Marketplace Investigation showed how easy it was for an Oakville, Ontario family’s smart home system to fall victim to hackers who were able to operate the home’s lights, make Amazon purchases with stored credit information, and even unlock the home’s front door.
Pair this fear of hackers with the fact that many people are uncomfortable with the fact that these speakers and other devices are made to watch and listen in on our daily lives.
A prime example of the danger that comes with putting an always live mic in your home is the case of a Portland Oregon family’s Echo recording a conversation in the home without authorization and then sending the recording to someone in the family’s contact list.
The smart refrigerator knows what we eat, the smart lock knows who has entered our homes, and the smart phone knows your entire life’s story.
Surveillance, social media data breeches, and the general erosion of privacy is a very real concern for many Canadians. In fact, 3 out of 5 concerns among people considering smart home products revolve around security (NPD Group).
While these concerns may not deter all Canadians from bringing smart products into their homes, they may result in slowing the adoption of fully integrated smart technology in a large percentage of Canadian households.