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Hiscox 14 Nov 2018 02:56pm

Smart security - the next frontier in the connected home

SPONSORED FEATURE: Smart security measures may not be the most common connected home devices as yet, writes George Richards, but they are beginning to make headway among early adopters

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Caption: The world market for connected home devices is expected to grow to about 600 million by 2021

Smart devices for the home – a market that has attracted technology giants such as Amazon (Echo) and Google (Home Hub) – are becoming increasingly popular. According to IHS Markit, the world market for connected home devices will grow from just over 100 million units to about 600 million by 2021. The dawn of the connected home, a 2018 YouGov survey, found consumers are increasingly relying on systems that respond to voice commands for a large variety of household tasks.

These could be anything from turning on the lights to opening the garage door. It says 23% of UK households currently have some sort of smart device. And while just 3% of households have bought a smart security system to help protect their homes, this marketplace is evolving as these devices gain traction.

Always at home

Smart security devices provide extra protection for homes, whether that’s by acting as a deterrent to burglars or mitigating the risk from fire or chemical hazards. They combine the internet of things (IoT) and artificial intelligence to detect problems and send warnings as required.

One company that specialises in Smart security devices is Ring, which was recently acquired by Amazon. Its Video Doorbell device sends instant alerts whenever visitors press the button or trigger a motion sensor, allowing users to watch over their home and see, hear and speak to whomever is at the door, even when they are away.

With instant alerts, users can answer their door from their smartphone, tablet or PC. It isn’t just about looking out for intruders though. Smart detectors from Roost, for example, send instant messages to alert customers to fire or other dangers in their home by monitoring for carbon monoxide, smoke and natural gas.

The next generation

The YouGov report suggests most people using smart security devices at the moment are fairly affluent and relatively young. But as smart technology becomes more accessible, anyone with an interest in security and comfort is likely to begin adopting smart technology.

“Technology continues to drive more connectivity into our lives, and nothing is more at the centre of life than the home,” explains Ben Walters, CEO Hiscox Global Retail. “The capabilities created by the connected home will both enrich and complicate our relationship with what, for most of us, is our most valuable asset. “Our homes will simultaneously become safer, as physical threats can be recognised and avoided, and more at risk as exposure to cyber threats grow.

This shift will have significant impacts on the home insurance ecosystem as coverages and products evolve to serve the changing landscape. Hiscox is committed to remaining at the forefront of innovation in the home insurance sector and is proud to apply our industry-leading brand to next generation home solutions.”

Insurance of the future

Smart security devices are also influencing the way home insurers add value for their customers. Neos, a digital-age insurance company, offers IoT-enabled smart home devices that are linked to building and contents insurance cover.

It says its devices can detect a problem, such as a potential water leak, before any damage is caused. With the Association of British Insurers estimating that damage caused by loss of water and floods can cost households in excess of £20,000, an effective leak detection device could have a dampening effect on high insurance premiums.

Smart devices and the insurance policies that accompany them work on a prevention is better than cure philosophy. Because smart security technology can detect problems and prevent claims from being made, insurers should be able to pass savings on to their customers. This will also help reduce the need to switch policies, saving time and money in the process. The evolution of the connected home is upon us.

ICAEW members get 12.5% off Hiscox home insurance. For a limited time only, purchasers of Hiscox home insurance will also receive a Ring Video Doorbell and a Ring Chime as part of their home insurance package. T&Cs apply. Visit hiscox.co.uk/icaew/ ringdoorbell for full details.