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Half of Brits fear smart home devices could listen to personal and confidential information

Half of Brits fear smart home devices could listen to personal and confidential information
  • Brits reveal the things they are most concerned smart home devices could be listening to
  • One in ten Brits use smart home devices to monitor people in their home

From turning the heating on before you get home from work, to ordering your food shopping hands free, smart home devices are set to revolutionise the home in 2017. But how do Brits really feel about the latest digital trend?

Online furniture retailer Furniture Choice surveyed the nation about smart home devices, and found that almost half (48%) of Brits currently own one. The Amazon Echo (42%), Hive Thermostat (41%) and Google Home (31%) are currently the most popular devices.

Of the reasons Brits would purchase a smart home device, they cited to control other household appliances (31%), to feel more secure in their home (29%) and to keep their house at an optimal temperature (26%) as their main reasons.

With technology constantly evolving, smart home devices will soon be able to do much more than turn on our heating. In the future Brits want the devices to be more eco-friendly (41%), provide round the clock security (36%) and, in an ideal world, do the ironing (29%).

Despite home tech devices becoming increasingly popular, some Brits are still cautious. The Amazon Echo and Google Home devices both ‘listen’ for a wake word said by the user to activate. As a result nearly a quarter (23%) of Brits think that the devices can record/listen to what is said in their home, despite this not being the case.

The things Brits are most concerned a smart home device could record/listen to:

  1. Personal and confidential information, such as passwords (47%)
  2. Information of my finances (39%)
  3. Arguing with my partner (20%)
  4. Family disagreements (20%)
  5. Sexual engagements (17%)

Deborah Cobb, Product Manager at Ebuyer.com, said “Although users are right to be concerned with security, putting some basic safeguards in place will lessen any risk.

“Firstly, make sure your network is protected by a strong password which should never be shared.  Also, by upgrading your broadband router to a model with built-in anti-virus software, you will massively reduce any chance of your home network being hacked.

“For added security, change any default or manufacturers passwords, and always upgrade the software on every device when prompted.

“For those worried about devices listening to their conversations, many smart home products do not require voice control and so will be unable to access any personal information.  Those devices which do use voice control can have the recording functions turned off, or any recordings deleted, by adjusting their settings.”

Currently, one in ten (11%) Brits use smart home devices to monitor people in their home. While intended for security purposes, there is potential for this to be abused. It is therefore not surprising that 29% of those surveyed are worried about the devices lack of privacy, and 23% about them being misused.

Rebecca Snowden, Interior Style Advisor at Furniture Choice, said: “Smart home devices are going to revolutionise the household, from making our daily chores more manageable to providing entertainment and education for people across the globe.

“With people unsure of what these devices do, or how the technology works, it is understandable that some are wary of smart home devices. However, as people become more familiar with them and how they can assist with everyday life, this will soon change and they will become an integral part of many households.”
For more information on the latest smart home devices, please visit the Furniture Choice blog: http://www.furniturechoice.co.uk/blog/miscellaneous/smart-home-2017/

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