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Is home automation on your phone safe?

While newer technologies change the way we live in our abodes by bundling convenience and security together, there remains a lingering reticence among Canadian homeowners to adopt home automation technology. Home automation enables you to do everything, from lock doors and set thermostats – individually or in conjunction – to viewing security cameras on smart phones.

Almost anything can happen when you have a WiFi connection:

  • Unlock the front door;
  • Disarm the security alarm;
  • Have the system send out a text message notifying the family they’re home.

Through the system, thermostats in particular can learn a family’s habits and program itself accordingly and reduce energy bills.

This neat infographic explains all the ways home automation can improve your home and how you live:

home automation

The ‘connected home’ has already proven popular south of the border, however, Canadians, with the exception of Quebecers, are slow adopters of these nascent technologies.

It isn’t without reason, though.

So, what’s the problem?

According to Dave Adamchick, an account manager with The NPD Group, a market research firm, consumer apprehension is primarily predicated on cost. As with most emerging technologies, costs are customarily exorbitant, however, they do become inexpensive over time as popularity and demand escalate.home automation1

While security features and packages are among the most commonly purchased automations, fear that home automation security is, in fact, insecure persist among consumers and remain a hurdle to extensive adoption.

“Some concerns from consumers is there’s some risk for security with anything connected to the internet,” said Adamchick. “In the manufacturing community, there’s a rush to be the first, but more attention needs to be paid to security protocol. You don’t have the physical security of this being an isolated device. It can be controlled from anywhere in the world, and that’s something consumers are worried about that needs to be addressed by manufacturers.”

Thermostats are the most popular automation feature, in part because of potential energy savings. Adamchick also says that automated door locks are popular for small businesses, however, the ceiling for these technologies remains very high.

“Airbnb is one place (automated door locks) could be used. This is something that will gradually expand as the security case improves, and as protocols for security improve, they’ll grow.”

This video gives you an overview of what you need to know about home automation.

If you’re big on home automation, then you need to check out our story on the top 10 home automation products you need in your home.

Companies have dived into the selling market

Rogers is a major home automation provider, adding new features and devices every fiscal quarter. The company is focused on selling automation to its cable customer base; in addition to offering professional installation, it’s made concerted efforts to educate customers on the myriad features available for their homes, as well as simple installation techniques, because the average early-adopters have 11 automated devices in their homes.

“We’ve found Canadians are aggressive adopters of new technologies but we’re in the early stages of developing the market,” said Rogers Vice President of Product Development, Ian Pattinson.

A recent survey indicates the following:

  1. 75 per cent of consumers want to live in a smart home;
  2. They see the advantages of smart home technology;
  3. However, don’t know what it is or what it can do.

“So, we still have a job to do on educating the market on what they are and overcoming hurdles by lowering cost to allow consumers to adopt the technology.”

This homeowner custom built his home with really cool automated systems. What do you think? Could you live in a fully-automated home?

How much is it going to cost?

Pattinson says the large operators are working together to saturate the market so that cost invariably decreases.

“We’re a service provider and we’re creating an open platform here that will allow others to bring other devices into our service,” he said.

As for security, Pattinson admits curtailing vulnerabilities requires many faculties, but that providers will always rise to the challenge.

To allay concerns, he says, “We keep things secure by always being worried and always watching. We stay extremely current on all vulnerabilities out there by doing all kinds of external intrusive testing to make sure we stay on the cutting edge. We make it easy for customers by making it our problem to keep the system current so that they don’t have to worry about it.”


Are you ready to take the plunge into the home automation world? Contact one of our home automation experts for advice on how to get started!

About the Author: Neil Sharma is a freelance writer.

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