While there as has been a ton of coverage about how the Smart Home is susceptible to hackers from the outside, we are seeing increasing a growing risk of our homes becoming threats to others. For some, that is preferred, for others a concern, for all, a liability to be understood and addressed. Even in a market where insurance companies are looking at the coming flood of autonomous vehicles with valid concerns that their consumer vehicle revenues will drop substantially, homeowners will need additional coverage on their smart homes given their ability to act as micro rogue states in the growing cyber warfare battlefield. I know it sounds like something out of a science fiction movie, mixing Jason Bourne with Big Bang Theory, but when you see companies like Sunflower Labs and their new Home Awareness System and it does not take much to leap from drones with lights to drones with lasers. While Sunflower Labs is just getting off the ground (see what I did there?) their notion of a system acting on behalf of consumers is where Smart Home needs to evolve, towards a collection of hardware and software that acts on behalf of consumers, not creating additional gadgets and apps we have to juggle to perform our daily routine with the dexterity of a fire eating, chainsaw tossing, joke telling, baby kissing circus performer.
But what happens when things go awry? When we forget to update the firmware to that latest security patch and our home lashes out at the Domino’s delivery wagon, leaving a smoking crater of pepperoni, plastic and burnt cheese? Who holds that liability? What if our smart home unwillingly becomes part of a rogue state’s gang of bots to take out the smart grid, change the election results to favor evil movie robots, or order six years of Cheetos to be delivered by Amazon drone to the local high school principal. Who bears the liability? Who bears the cost? Is it your aging grandmother who hasn’t touched the router since you installed it six years ago to allow her to Facetime with the grandkids? Is it the Smart Home Service Provider that installed that smart thermostat and charges you a monthly fee for monitoring? Or will we find a way to make the consumer liable and ultimately create a new market for insurance companies. Corporate insurance today includes policies for Errors and Omissions, a blanket policy for “ooops, we didn’t see that”. Will we create products like that for consumers, “ooops, we didn’t update that” policies? This is an opportunity for the insurance companies to chase and for the smart home companies to prevent. My guess is that they will both find ways to win in the effort to stay relevant, solvent, and important to consumers.
This is just one of many of the concepts we bat around here at Argus Insights as we build the tools that let you comb through millions of consumer bread crumbs (insights) of what is driving the Smart Home market. We’d love to put those tools into your hands so you can wield the power of tomorrow, today. Check out our enterprise grade, start-up friendly tool subscriptions or sign up for our free Smart Home Newsletter.