Smart home systems, drones, AI: we analyse new trends and technologies in the field of home security.
Your home is your private island of tranquility where you can rest at ease… as long as it’s safe, of course. Otherwise, the most unthinking day can become a public place. Having said that, we have made a selection of trends and new products in the field of security technologies to explain their advantages and what you should take into account as a user.
DIY Security Systems
Analysts predict that in the coming years more and more people will install their own security systems and monitor their homes without professional help. The market already offers various systems that do not require special knowledge or skills to install or operate.
Saving on installation and not having to connect to a centralised security office are important issues, so such systems are in high demand. However, if you’re thinking about buying a DIY system, there are some issues you’ll have to deal with.
First, that the alarm can be activated at any time, regardless of the time. Imagine you’re spending the night at a friend’s house or on vacation at the beach when, suddenly, you get a message from the security system. What do you do? Do you study the camera footage there, in the middle of the night, to see if the alarm made any mistakes? Do you ignore the message? Do you put it off until tomorrow morning? What if they had snuck into your house to steal?
Secondly, there are always potential communication problems. Imagine that your phone battery decides to die at the wrong time or that you have no coverage because you’re in the middle of nowhere. And at this very moment, burglars are breaking into your home. The security system tries to warn you, but you are not available and messages do not reach you. It may sound crazy to you, but it’s not impossible.
Thirdly, if you take full responsibility for the protection of your home, there will be no one there to oversee the security system itself. And any technology, even security technology, can have vulnerabilities that criminals would exploit to their advantage.
For example, researcher Ilia Schnaidman discovered errors in the iSmartAlarm DIY system that allowed an intruder to take control of any alarm system to activate or deactivate it. And, recently, Kaspersky’s experts hacked into a smart home in Fibaro and managed not only to disable the security system and surveillance cameras, but also to remotely open the front door, which had a smart lock.
An army of smart devices in the home
Non-safety related smart home components also let you check how everything is going at home. For example, a smart doorbell can be used to see and talk to visitors, even if you are on the other side of the world.
And if they are who they say they are, a command can be sent to the smart lock to let them in. Or you can set the door to open automatically with someone in particular, such as a person you know and trust to do the cleaning. A smart lock also lets you check if someone remembered to lock up in the first place.
Smart lights can suddenly come on if there’s someone hanging around your yard and you’re outside. Sometimes, that’s enough to scare off first-time thieves. In addition, many system manufacturers offer “remote” lighting mode where intelligent lights simulate your presence by turning on and off at certain times.
But like all relatively new technologies, smart devices are vulnerable. They can be hacked and used against you. And the more complex the equipment, the more likely it is to show faults for no apparent reason.
Let’s add some intelligence
Another trend in the field of home security is artificial intelligence (AI). Unlike smart devices, AI systems are able to learn and adapt. Within security technologies, they are prepared to distinguish real threats from imaginary ones; for example, differentiating between a burglar breaking into your house and your child climbing out of a window. Therefore, the alarm shouts “the wolf is coming” less frequently, so users and security personnel are more attentive when the alarm is turned on.
To achieve this, developers employ a variety of technologies. Facial recognition allows the system to give the green light to residents, regular visitors, such as family and friends. For its part, the geofence detects, for example, when someone gets too close to a structure or stays too long near the door.
Of course, the accuracy of AI decision-making still needs to be improved. Not to mention that the electronic brain can be fooled in the same way as the human brain. Therefore, it is still too early to replace people in the tasks of monitoring security systems.
Most of the systems and devices described above, intelligent or not, are stationary and cannot move freely, which means that, in theory, they have blind spots. From this perspective, so to speak, Sunflower Labs presented an interesting project.
Garden lights equipped with microphones and motion/vibration sensors are installed around the perimeter of the site. When they notice something that is considered suspicious, they notify the owner, who uses the mobile application to launch a camera drone.
The drone automatically traces a path to the location of the problem and transmits live video with its camera for the owner to view. After completing its journey, it returns to the base to load and from there uploads the information to the cloud.
We have different doubts: Does the drone work in adverse weather? Can the attacker shoot it down and, if so, how will the system protect the user? Is it very difficult to hijack a drone? However, from a broader point of view, developers are looking for new methods to make home security more reliable and easier to use.
As you can see, security systems and other protection technologies are becoming flexible, autonomous and accessible, which is good. In the future, more people will be able to monitor the safety of their homes in real time and respond quickly to incidents.
Furthermore, the transition to independent security systems and intelligent solutions will require a greater understanding of information security by users. To prevent your security system from becoming a weapon in the hands of an intruder, you must at least be aware of the vulnerabilities and install all updates promptly.