Elizabeth, this is the wrong way to go. Many smart systems today utilize a phone or PC (more often the phone) to communicate and provide control. That is the right way to go. Literally 20 years ago we were shown a similar device by Honsywell. This is always going to be much more expensive that putting an app on a device you already own and count on.
Not only is Naperlou correct, but in addition installing the devices to replace regular switches and outlets will be very expensive. In Birmingham Michigan one must have a licensed electrical contracter replace an outlet or switch, as well as getting a permit. So changing one outlet would run $45 for labor and $50 for the permit. That does not include the price of the device being installed. So just like all of the other "smart house" dreams, it will be costly, and it will not deliver enough benefit to be worth the price.
REally, the "next big thing" needs to be something that has a much higher benefit to cost ratio.
Thanks for the feedback, William K and Lou. I would tend to agree with you guys that the mobile and wireless way to control the home is the best way to go but I think it´s still worthwhile and interesting to see the different approaches to this. Don´t you agree: bRight switch is just one option out of many that are cropping up.
I think the best part about the bRight switch is the fact that you can program or reset the switch remotely from outside the house. This is very convenient for individuals who work odd hours or have irregular schedules that can change at any time. The ability to control the electrical systems in your house and even program them remotely means that they are always going to be in control of everything regardless of their specific location at the moment.
One concern that has come up over and over again whenever Android apps are concerned is the issue of security. The hands-off approach adopted by Google when it comes to application security means that all apps on the platform have equal rights and the same goes for the bRight switch. This means that a hacker could just as easily access and re-programme your home unit by simply hacking into your phone with the help of malicious apps.
Good point, AnandY, this is an issue that needs to be addressed. Although I have to say, I am not sure hackers would be so interested in infiltrating someone´s home just to mess with their lights! But it could definitely be a threat to in-home security systems also controlled by such an Android-powered system, so definitely a big concern.
Elizabeth, I think that a lot of hackers just do it for the challenge, or to make some organization look bad. Why do you think that so many things attack Microsoft products? That company has thousands of enemies.
And I can immagine that some hackers may just want to see how many houses they can get the lights flashing off and on at. The more sinister hackers may attempt to bring down the electrical grid by cycling all of the high power appliances on and off. Just picture a whole neighborhood's central AC units switching on at the same time. And there are secondary methods to disable a security system such as changing the arrivalhome time setting, which may automatically switch off the alarms, Or ask the system to open the garage door.
The point about the lack of any Google security is certainly valid, almost weekly I get emails from hacked Google/facebook acounts, so it seems that none of that area has been secured.
So really, the downsides of those unintended consequences far outweigh any percieved benefits, as I see it.
Yes, you are probably right, William K. I guess just because I can´t see the point of messing with someone´s lights just for fun doesn´t mean there are a lot of hackers who wouldn´t like to do such a thing. I can completely see your point.
It just occurred to me that it may be an interesting thing for hackers to tap into whatever indoor security cameras may be installed. That would be a serious breach of privacy that might freakout a lot of folks. And security cameras for checking on pets and kids have been one of the touted possibilities for several years. "use your phone to check on the kids, the sitter, or the pets" is a line that I know I have seen. And that would be one of the systems that I would anticipate being the most desirable to have. And likewise the system to just listen to the house to check on it. So it is likely that snoopers might find hacking in to be very entertaining.
Hmm, you are probably right about this, too, William K. Some curious hackers might just break into the system just to spy on people, just because they can. It also could be used by potential thieves who might want to break into the home, so use the information to find out when people are at home or not at home. At any rate, all of this means security is definitely an issue that must be addressed.
Elizabeth, Now I am wondering about the possibility of an article that examines the means that hackers use to exploit security faults in software, and possibly hardware. The methods that I have used in the distant past were to store the executable code in either proms or E-Proms, or to limit the connection hardware to send only operation. Those worked well, but probably nobody would accept the limitations today. But just consider how very secure an operating system burned into a PROM would be. No way to change anything because writing would not be available. And the memory used to store the configuration parameters could have a removable jumper to allow editing. I have actually used systems like that, and the only damage ever done was bty a sabateur who pulled off the write-inhibit jumpers. But that reqired physically opening the cabinet to do the damage.
I would say hackers are indeed interested in breaking into smart-homes. Not for monetary or personal gain (unless there was a bad breakup between two parties) but to install fear into those living in it. Just look at what happened to that Family in Colorado who had their baby monitor (outfitted with a camera no less) hijacked.
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