Smart home standards to be considered

Focus on home automation heats up as consumer interest cools

Standards Australia is to discuss the development of home automation standards later this year.

The non-government organisation will host a forum of stakeholders to consider standards in home automation, and whether it should undertake a ‘Roadmap’ as it has recently for blockchain.

Details regarding the forum date and agenda have not yet been released.

Home automation – often referred to as smart home or home Internet of Things – systems have been heralded by manufacturers as a convenience for consumers and a way to make homes more energy efficient.

They include ovens that can be turned on from the office, fridges that send milk shortage alerts, and thermostats that respond to weather and the number of people in the house.

Despite their benefits, the devices have also been found to have serious security weaknesses.

A UK study, to be published next month, suggests consumers would welcome standards in the design of home automation products. Researchers found an overwhelming majority of consumers wanted systems to be “designed to be reliable, easy to use, controllable, and easy to over-ride” and “guarantee privacy, confidentiality, and secure data storage”.

Home cooling

A Gartner survey this month found that consumers may be cooling towards the idea of connected homes. Three-quarters of respondents said they’d rather switch lights and adjust thermostats by hand than have an IoT system do it, while only a quarter were attracted to the idea of devices anticipating their needs and making changes automatically.

Nearly two-thirds of consumers said they were worried about home IoT devices listening in on their conversations.

The UK study, meanwhile, concluded that there was concern in the market over “ceding autonomy and independence in the home for increased technological control”.

Blockchain beeline

Earlier this month Standards Australia released its Roadmap for Blockchain Standards report and will host the first international ISO meeting for blockchain standards next month.

The priority issues laid out in the roadmap included terminology, privacy and security, governance, risk, and interoperability.

"Over the next five to 10 years it will be something that we're talking about, much more than a curiosity, of being in the dark-web and goodness knows what happens with bitcoins. It will be an important part of our thinking," Standards Australia CEO Dr Bronwyn Evans said earlier this month.

The body’s Digital Hospitals Handbook, covering the design and implementation of connected hospitals, will be released later this year.

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Tags standards Australiahome automationInternet of ThingsSmart homeIoTBlockchain

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