Internet of Things

Smart Home Turns Out Not So Smart

The Internet of Things (IoT) sometimes can surprise us, even in our own homes.

Forbes recently reported the story of 31-year-old Marcus, who lives in Springfield, Missouri, and has a very smart home. Perhaps too smart for his own good.

After a few thousand dollars of investment, the die-hard Apple fan had outfitted his house with 30 Philips Hue LED light bulbs, two Ecobee thermostats, eight temperature sensors throughout his house and an August Smart Lock. All those gadgets were certified as “Works with Apple HomeKit,” which is Apple’s communication platform for smart homes, and synced and linked to the “lady of the house:” Siri.

Marcus loved it. In fact, he said: “Having things automated lets me sleep better.”

Sleep is good. Feeling in control is even better. So is having everything work flawlessly. Check this out: The front door automatically unlock as he approaches, and the lights brighten gradually as he wakes from slumber.

Everything was going smoothy through an iPad Pro in his living room serving as a central, voice-controlled hub for his smart home, similar to Amazon Echo and its Alexa. Upon request, the lights dim, or the room warms up.

What do you do when you get a new gadget? You play show-and-tell with your friends.

Marcus invited Mike over to check out his new smart digs.

A few days later, Marcus was leaving, heading out via his driveway, when his pal Mike walked over asking to borrow some flour. 

Marcus agreed and began exiting his vehicle to let Mike into his house. But almost simultaneously, Mike said, “I’ll let myself in,” and scurried to the front door to shout: “Hey, Siri, unlock the front door.” Guess what Siri did? She unlocked the door.

Stunned, the two men looked at each other. They found that the iPad Pro sitting in the living room could hear Mike from outside and approved the door to open. Marcus was stunned and tried the unlocking command a few times. It was way too easy. In fact, he was shocked at how easy it was.

Unsure where to turn, he posted the experience on Reddit. It. Went. Viral.

Some people harassed him for not putting a passcode on the iPad, which would follow up requiring him to put in the correct password. Marcus wasn’t a fan of that because it defeated the purpose of how he used the iPad, which was, as he said, “the way it was marketed.”

With his tail between his legs, Marcus is removing the August Smart Lock from his home. Experts say HomeKit may only be for simple things, like turning on lights and making the room warmer.

Less for front doors. Which, apparently, are still better with classic metal keys.

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