HVAC For Beginners

Smart Appliances

A Guide to the Future of Home Technology

The world is getting smarter every day, and so are our homes. With the advent of smart technology, we now have the ability to control our appliances remotely, monitor our energy consumption, and even get alerts when our laundry is done. In this article, we'll take a deep dive into smart appliances and how they are transforming the way we live. These appliances can be added to a smart home system where virtually every aspect of your home can be monitored for efficiency, convenience and comfort.

What are smart appliances?

Smart appliances are basically machines in the home that can connect to the internet and other devices, allowing them to be controlled remotely, and provide real-time data. These appliances can be anything from refrigerators to thermostats, washing machines to coffee makers. They typically come equipped with sensors, cameras, and other high-tech features that enable them to communicate with other devices in your home through a hub.

How do smart appliances work?

These devices are much like the smart phone that you carry around with you in that they, too, have a processing unit much like a traditional home computer. This processing unit gets inputs from various sensors such as temperature and motion. These inputs are processed by the program in the machine to cause a certain action based on the inputs. As part of a smart home system, the setpoints of these sensors can be changed using the hub (such as your Amazon Echo or Google Nest) with your voice or written instructions.

What is the benefit of smart appliances?

The benefits of smart appliances are numerous. One of the most significant benefits is that they can help you save money on your home's monthly bills. Smart thermostats, for example, can learn your daily routine and automatically adjust the temperature to save energy when you're not home. Similarly, smart refrigerators can help you keep track of food inventory and expiration dates, reducing food waste. Smart dishwashers can use sensors to determine how much water and energy is needed to clean your dishes, resulting in less water waste.

Another benefit of the applainces is that they can receive what is known as "over-the-air updates". This allows the software in the machines to be updated to enable the latest features as well as the latest security updates without the need to replace the unit.

When combined with geofencing on your smartphone, many of these appliances can be automatically controlled by your arrival or departure from home.

What are the risks of smart appliances?

As with any internet-connected device, security is a concern with smart appliances. While smart appliances can improve our safety and security, they can also be vulnerable to cyberattacks. One of these attacks, known as man in the middle or MITM, is where a hacker can gain access to your wi-fi network and collect all the data routed to the internet between devices. When considering which smart appliances to purchase, you should remember that each connected device becomes a point of risk and the entire system is only as secure as the weakest device connected to it.

Another type of cyberattack associated with the smart home is the stealing of personal data such as passwords, banking data, credit card numbers, etc. Any device that is connected to the smart home system allows access to all of the devices including those that you pay bills with.

Another type of attack is the insertion of malware into your home. We have all heard of cyber attacks on utilities and companies where ransomware and other viruses are introduced to a system to cause damage. Although we have not seen this yet, it is possible to do the exact same type of things with access to your home's wi-fi network.

**NOTE** Many of these risks can be minimized by using a virtual private network (VPN). A VPN creates a secure connection between a computing device and a computer network, or between two networks. This secure connection encrypts the data so that, even if it were intercepted, it could not be understood.