Personal Finance

What Does Your Smart Home Know About You?

smart home speaker

    The short answer? A lot. 

    Smart home technology can collect data on your every move, from your bedtime habits to your media preferences to your diet. The exact data points, how they are collected and how they are shared, are not disclosed by most smart home tech manufacturers. However, we do know the data is most likely used to improve products, better target you with ads, and create new revenue streams for manufacturers. 

    Read on to learn more about smart home devices or scroll down to the infographic to find out what your smart home knows about you.

    Your home is getting smarter

    Maybe you’re one of the 66.4 million Americans who own a smart speaker like the Amazon Echo or Google Home, or maybe you’ve just purchased a new smart TV. Whatever the case, chances are you have at least one smart home device collecting data on your behavior and preferences right now. 

    Smart home technology is a fast-growing industry. Adoption of in-home internet-connected devices continues to grow, despite the media attention dedicated to tech companies' ambiguous data collection policies. Although up to 75 percent of users feel some level of distrust about how their data is used, most people are willing to use smart home technology.

    Smart homes provide advantages, including convenience, improved energy efficiency, potential safety benefits, remote access to your home, and even the potential for lower home insurance rates. However, smart home devices also come with security and privacy concerns.

    Smart home devices: the good and the bad

    It's true: devicemakers collect data on customers' in-home behaviors and sell that data to advertisers. Some consider this an invasion of privacy, while others are fine with the idea, as long as the distribution of that data doesn’t compromise their safety.

    Possible benefits of smart home technology

    Safety
    Smart homes have the potential to improve homeowners' safety. For instance, you can remotely lock your doors if you forget or just as easily check to make sure you turned off the curling iron. 

    Efficiency 
    Automated tasks like temperature and lighting control save time while reducing energy waste. 

    Convenience 
    From voice command to remote home access to auto-populated grocery lists, smart home tech is designed to make your life easier.

    Possible disadvantages of smart home technology

    Loss of privacy 
    Private information about your home life — the time at which you go to sleep, which shows you watch, or how many bathroom visits you make each night — is collected and potentially sold for profit. 

    Security risks 
    If you don’t take necessary security precautions like password protecting your devices and updating software, your smart home devices could be hacked, compromising private information and offering access to cameras and microphones.

    Commoditization of home life
    Home is no longer a private place. Activities that were once considered private can be monetized and used to target you with ads.

    The ZebraResource Center