Category: Smart Home Security

    Will the Smart Home Device you Buy Today Still Hold its Value Tomorrow?

    Mar 05, 2018 • 7 minutes read

    Hedge Your Investment Against Obsolescence

    Investment in smart home technology and DIY security is ultimately like any other expenditure; you must measure its value by how it enhances your life and your situation. This value can come in the form of a contribution that a device or system makes to the comfort, convenience, and safety of your home space. For anything to have true value it must have more than only value today, it needs to hold its value over time.

    In simple terms, the smart home is an ecosystem of connected devices that work together and, in some cases, depend on each other to fulfill their purpose. The ideal device or system would serve its intended purpose not only in the present moment, but also adapt to changes in the overall smart home ecosystem in order to remain relevant, and therefore, valuable.

    It’s inherent that when we think of innovation, we think growth and development. Innovation can increase the capacity of systems to handle more smart home devices, it can improve the speed of transmissions between devices, and in some cases, innovation can lead to a total paradigm shift in how we relate to ourselves and others such as with the smartphone. When we look at what other innovations could lead to a new type of paradigm shift, the internet of things and its held potential for smart home technology and smart home security immediately comes to mind.

    While value is a mix of objective and subjective, certain factors remain a reliable barometer of which factors related to the smart home we should consider when determining what devices to purchase, and perhaps in what order. These factors are interoperability, expansion, new threats, and vulnerability.

    Interoperability

    Interoperability is the ability of one brand of system or device to work with devices and systems from other manufacturers. The Internet of Things, or IoT, utilizes different methods of wireless communication to connect devices, such as Zigbee and Z-Wave. These communication protocols may sound similar, but they vary greatly in how they operate and, most importantly, don’t communicate with each other natively, creating barriers between some smart home and smart home security devices.

    There are many advantages to IoT and DIY Security, but the possibility of total customization remains one of the most attractive features. No two people or their security needs are alike, and naturally, we find value in having a choice that allows us to customize for our unique situations. For example, Scout’s decision to integrate both Z-Wave and ZigBee wireless platforms allows the security system to connect and communicate with more smart home devices than anyone else, providing more value in the long term should either communication protocol become the sole player.

    Expandability

    Capacity limits are a frequent reason for obsolescence in a high tech device or system. Many buyers try to spend as little as possible to meet their needs and satisfy preferences for operation and style. When their needs change, the device or system may lack the capacity to expand to meet the changing needs. The limits on capacity can require replacement of an otherwise serviceable and useful device or security system.

    Personalization

    Manufacturers have emphasized flexibility and versatility in their systems. When you can adapt your smart home devices and your security set up to multiple unique needs such as lighting system that function both for enjoyment and security, the purchase maintains a high value. Adaptation and a device’s ability to fit into changing life scenarios and needs is key to maintaining value over time.

    Expanding Threats

    Any home security system is designed to keep outside threats at bay. But if the security system that’s designed to protect you is easily attacked and defeated, then you’ve essentially purchased a system rendered obsolete through ineffectiveness. While no system is perfect or bulletproof, it cannot be so easy to defeat or evade that it fails to serve its fundamental purpose. Due to the fact that the field of home security technology increasingly involves wireless communications and smartphone connectivity, the keys to resilience in the face of these threats are research and redundancy:

    • Research by the sponsors and manufacturers of smart home devices and systems is a primary resource in the battle against new threats. In order to remain effective, research and development must continue in the post-marketing/customer purchase phase to offer reliable software updates and hardware modifications as needed.

    • Redundancy is the capacity of a device to continue to function despite efforts to disrupt it. System redundancy is a feature that can extend the life of a system or device when threats evolve. Often, efforts by criminals to gain entry into a house will focus on defeating or hijacking the security system through an essential feature such as a power or telephone line. With smart home security like Scout, redundant systems have been established to guard against internet and power failures and ensure communication isn’t lost when it’s needed most.

    Engineering Issues

    System or device vulnerabilities can occur whenever one device connects to another. Interoperability and system expansion comes with the added risk that each new device or connection increases the potential that the connection may be exploited if not properly engineered to defend against these increased risks. If a product is well engineered, the likelihood of these threats being successful, in both the short and long term, reduce to virtually zero.

    Engineering is an area largely out of the control of the consumer, except for getting information and maintaining some awareness. Many tech-savvy consumers invest in learning and staying up to date. Many manufacturers routinely use threat alerts and notify consumers of possible exploits, security patches, and prevention steps.

    Increasing Life and Decreasing Obsolescence

    Selection can make a big difference in the useful life of a DIY security and smart home security investment. To get maximum value from a device or system, its useful life needs to be maximized. If you value longevity and usefulness from a product, place an emphasis on the system’s potential for expansion, compatibility with the major platforms, and manufacturer's support when making your purchase decision. Ultimately, value lies in the eye of the beholder, and the best security system will always be an option that meets your individual needs and matches your specific preferences.