How to ensure that the smart home doesn’t jeopardize data privacy? – Help Net Security

The smart home has been much hyped for what feels a very long-time, but I think it is fair to say that the smart home era is now truly upon us. This status has been almost entirely driven by the rise of the smart speaker – the first truly mass-market smart home device.

Data from IMARC Group puts the value of the smart speaker market at $5.08bn last year, and it is expected to hit $21.94bn by 2027. Such widespread adoption is laying the foundations for the smart home of the future.

People already demonstrate a high degree of trust in voice control/interaction. However, as more and more people buy into the smart home and devices proliferate, there is an ever-bigger price to pay when it comes to data security and privacy.

The balance between convenience and privacy

To put it another way, Alexa might be helpful when she turns off the lights, but the reliance on a permanent link to the cloud means that she is also leaving the back door open from a privacy point of view.

That is not just a technical fact, it is also an ethical question. It is certainly convenient for your devices to be listening for their particular wake word. But it is also a major consumer concern that every audible event in their house is being captured, digitized and streamed to the cloud.

Of course, this mechanism isn’t just borne out of technical necessity – it is also fuelling the ad-based business models of Amazon, Google, and others. However, this might prove ultimately self-defeating. There is a much lower ceiling to the smart home market if consumer concerns around data privacy cannot be solved – not just for today’s smart speakers, but also for whatever devices come next.

What this means is that there is a technical balance to be found if the smart home is to truly thrive. Without the ability to recognise people and respond to commands it is difficult to see what the smart home is “for”. At the same time, we must avoid a situation where people feel like they are constantly under surveillance in their own home.

How we find that balance is very much the million-dollar question for the smart home industry right now.

Enter edge AI

The key to delivering on a more private smart home is to make devices more intelligent in and of themselves.

TVs, soundbars, smart speakers, and even remote healthcare monitoring devices all have one thing in common — they all want to become “smarter”. But currently the only way to do that is through the cloud. Commands and signals given to a smart speaker are not processed by the device. Instead, the data is transmitted to the cloud for interpretation, contextualization and then instructions and actions are sent back to the speaker.

There is an alternative to the cloud-based IoT – the Artificial Intelligence of Things (AIoT). The AIoT model involves putting intelligence and processing power directly in the end point device – enabling the device itself to interpret and action commands locally – cutting the cord with the cloud.

The problem is that delivering this edge intelligence has been easier said than done. To date, the chips that can deliver this intelligence are expensive, difficult to work with and time consuming to design into products.

Delivering the AIoT

There is no doubt that the chip design challenges of the AIoT are …….



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