Smart home adoption is on the rise. But while more people than ever are adding smart home devices, so are concerns over privacy. As you communicate your product’s features, here are a few ways to address those common concerns.

 

Don’t use a cloud server

One of the easiest ways to quell fears of spying and data collection is to simply make it impossible to do.

 

There is no better example of this than Eve Systems. Eve is a smart home accessory maker that focuses entirely on Apple’s HomeKit platform. In doing so, they can completely remove the need for any sort of cloud service.

 

Apple is already doing the marketing on privacy for them, so by piggybacking on Apple’s claims and clearly touting the lack of any sort of Eve cloud connectivity, consumers can rest easy that there is no way for Eve to spy on their lives.

 

If you don’t need a cloud service for your product, don’t spend the money on developing it and instead brag that you have no interest — or ability — to acmes a user’s data.

 

Communicate privacy limits effectively

While it sounds altruistic to just forgo a cloud service, many times it is necessary. The largest example of this is a smart camera. A smart camera provider likely has to store user videos, use Ai to examine what is on a video to best notify a user, and more that wouldn’t be possible without a cloud service.

 

A camera in someone’s home can be the most glaring privacy concern so the best a manufacturer can do is communicate very clearly what can and can’t be accessed by your company.

 

Inform the user how footage is being stored, how it is encrypted and transmitted, and what information that app collects and why. If you require employees to review footage or accuracy, be upfront and allow users to opt-in, not the other way around.

 

Explain app permissions

Due to their nature, smart home products will almost certainly have an accompanying app. That app as well will likely need certain permissions to fairly private information.

 

For example, a smart plug or smart thermostat may need to access a user’s location so that the lights or AC can turn off whenever a user leaves the house.

 

Instead of just having the alerts appear out of nowhere, prior to invoking the alerts, let the user know that you need access to that information and — as we just emphasized — why you need that information. Express how important privacy is and assure customers it is only being used to toggle these types of controls.

 

Tout reliability

Whether it is a smart switch, a smart shower system, or an Alexa-controlled oven, a final way to squash concerns of privacy is to tout reliability and security. If you can talk — and back up — how reliable your product is, customers will, in turn, be more placated in their security concerns.

 

If your product is conveyed reliable, it feels less likely to be hacked or compromised.

 

Educate the user on the encryption that is used and liken it to other reliable institutes or products. Think comparing the encryption you use to the same used at a bank. If they trust their money with a bank, they should trust your product in their home.

 

If you use a hosting provider such as AWS, let users know that their devices will always be available and connected thanks to the 99.99% up time guaranteed.

 

Similarly, turn a limitation into a privacy benefit. If your product works only over Bluetooth, remind a user that with no way to connect to the internet, none of their personal information can be transmitted outside of their home. They can rely on that Bluetooth connection when they are near and can trust nothing else is ever being shared.