'Smart homes' present new security concerns

Smart Home

(CNN/KYTX) - The home of the future, is now in your hands. smartphones have paved the way for "smart homes" made with all kinds of cost-effective and convenient technology.

It's been coined the "connected home industry." It's growing rapidly, and it's also something law enforcement is trying to keep up with in order to keep your family safe.

The industry has exploded, with smart devices and apps, controlling everything from home security to heating and air conditioning, from a smartphone or tablet.

"It used to be only people that were very, very wealthy people could have homes that had automated lighting or automated temperature control or maybe automated security, and that's changed in the last couple of years."

Wireless technology has made options pretty easy. You don't necessarily have to re-wire the whole house. New devices can be as simple as this home monitoring system that plugs into the wall.

"I can actually look at my home, control my home, and basically be assured that my home is safe and secure."

But there are more questions and research to sort through. First off, multiple platforms, meaning consumers need to choose one early on, if they want devices to talk to one another Some are Bluetooth, others WiFi.

And, privacy. Where is information about your home stored? How easily can certain systems be hacked? And, would a stolen cell phone literally open your home to a crook? 

These are all questions law enforcement is trying to answer this week at the 39th Annual Texas Crime Prevention Association Training Conference in Tyler.

"Just the way things were 15 years ago when I got involved in crime prevention, there were really no electronic locks and things like that. Now, someone can push your doorbell and you can be on the beach somewhere and actually answer your door."

President of the Texas Crime Prevention Association Jeffery McGowen says knowing the latest home trends helps them keep the public safe.

"Alarms are changing, door locks are changing, how we protect ourselves is changing just about everyday."

According to one estimate, the connected home industry could grow to $10 billion this year, and $44 by 2017, meaning many of the devices we see now, are only the beginning.



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