Smart Homes and Changing Residential Lifestyle: Technicality, Responsibility and Awareness as Key Concepts

Modern living is a concept that has managed to raise a lot of attention, especially after several fundamental technological solutions were integrated into its products and services. As customers demand further enlightenment about the subject matter, the producers are more than willing to open up to the markets and their customers to provide valuable information and insight. Modern furniture stores are to be found in virtually any part of the world today, while international exhibitions and marketing organizations shape the way the furniture and home technology-related companies interact with their customers and with each other. In such a high-paced market development, home tech is becoming a necessity for millions of people, making research and investigation a must for such interested parties. Luckily, the media reports on new products, technologies and services on a daily basis and accessing crucial information is not that hard for regular people and specialists alike.

Smart living is a general subject and it is important to break it down to its components to make sense of the currently existing chaos of information and innovation. As the Internet of Things enters more homes each passing day, several functions and capabilities emerge out of the thin air for smart home residents to take notice and use. Smart thermostats are utile for use in conjunction with weather data to save time and resource for their users, while smart window blinds are useful to cut down on heating and cooling bills by maximizing the use and preservation of existent forms of energy. Smart lights are also economic in design but they also come in various forms and shapes to add design and character to user homes. User Interfaces such as Alexa now come in built-in hubs and provide centralized access to home technologies, while centralized control mechanisms such as SmartThings are also providing excellent authority over such homes and their integrated technologies.

Naturally, companies are seeking to take advantage of the new wave of technological developments for customer homes and Walmart is currently investing into a controversial service: to provide its customers with groceries when they are away from their homes. As long as the customers allow legal access to their homes, Walmart delivery personnel will be supplying such homes with the reportedly lacking items and products according to online information databases, which will work in conjunction with smart home systems. The customers themselves can also place such orders through the company’s online systems and authorize the delivery personnel to enter their homes and place the ordered items in the refrigerator or any other spot in the house as specified by the customer. As expected, the customer will be notified through an SMS, an email or a phone call prior to and following such operations to ensure that there will exist no lack of communication between such personnel and Walmart customers. The company is defending its revolutionary approach by stating that all the mentioned procedures will be 100% safe and secure and will only be carried out upon customer approval. In addition, the company’s vision seems to be moving away from traditional retailing to one-on-one customer relations for which this project holds a monumental value and importance.

Speaking of security risks associated with smart living, the issue of control over the installed applications, gadgets and appliances is becoming increasingly more important. Several cases of harassment have been reported by users of such technologies, namely by women and children, upon which it was discovered by authorities that company employees who have installed such devices are frequently granted access to their controls without user knowledge or consent. Such access is a direct threat to the protection of personal privacy rights and constitutes a significant violation of respective laws. The experts are stating that the best way to deal with such issues is to report such harassment as soon as it is detected by the user and replace the device or gadget immediately, preferring a different service provider. Such issues are very common between ex-partners who have shared homes in their past with one of the partners remaining in the shared household and the other messing with them through long-distance controls of household appliances and applications. Although it might seem harmless, the issue is of real concern, especially for high-profile people, who value and protect their privacy more than anything else in their lives to be able to remain as revered and respected individuals in their respective societies. Ill-minded and intended individuals have been known to steal personal information about such people to use against them for defamation and degradation of their public images, leading to serious public legal battles between the parties.