Guest OpEd by Scott McKinley, Assistant Vice President, Premium Technical Support for Pocket Geek Home
Privacy concerns with many smart home tech devices are on the rise as of recently, in which 60% of Americans say they consider themselves “very” or “extremely” concerned about the security of their smart-home tech.
From the most popular smart devices, including TVs, speakers, and lightbulbs, to even smart kitchen appliances, all smart home products can be left vulnerable to intrusion from others outside the home.
(Smart home tech can make life easier — but it does come with a risk. Courtesy of Click On Detroit | Local 4 | WDIV and YouTube. Posted on Feb 22, 2022.)
Some of the top smart-home security concerns include password exploitation (41%), identify theft (39%), and even having one’s location tracked (36%), which frames the question of how retailers can help their end-user customers better protect their devices and make sure they are connected properly to ensure these concerns are addressed.
The Right Privacy Support Experience Retailers Can Provide
As each specifically branded smart device may have different capabilities and instructions in the initial setup than another, retailers should consider supplying privacy tech support to help secure the home’s Wi-Fi network connection.
As many, if not all, smart devices require a stable internet connection, retailers can provide the homeowner with the right support and protection for their privacy when using their smart device, including monitoring the Wi-Fi router.
For example, protected tech support can help alert the customer of hackers potentially trying to access the home’s network and seeing the devices attached to it. This could ultimately prompt against further activity in trying to access connections to the devices and stealing personal information.
Another key to retailers offering support services in protecting a smart device is educating the consumer about enabling multi-factor authentication in the device’s settings.
Multi-factor authentication, which most businesses now use to protect private information, is a method that requires the user to provide two or more verification factors to gain access to the specific device.
As individual consumers may not be fully aware of multi-factor authentication, tech support services can help electronic manufacturers show them how to set it up in the setting of the device, or even help guide them through it, whether it be another password, numbers, or a fingerprint to enter, only from the person trying to access the smart device.
Whether one buys the smart device directly from the manufacturer or through another distributor, protected tech support offerings can also help the retailer and the consumer understand what updates, if any, are needed on the device itself before use, which is also helpful in protecting the device’s privacy from other outside users.
Often times in the device’s settings there can be software or firmware updates needed and these updates can include added protection to the data stored on the device.
Moreover, when performing device updates, the location settings of the device should also be kept in mind. Just as one allows certain apps to track where they are throughout the day, smart home devices also have these capabilities, which means they can see every movement throughout the home and store that data for future use.
Protected smart home tech support can help decide when and where to disable location services on a specific device, while not impacting the device’s ability to work the way it is supposed to.
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Specific Device Help for Retailers
When looking at protecting homeowner privacy, one common device being referenced is the smart TV, in which TV manufacturers can actually monitor one’s viewing habits. Most smart TVs use ACR, or “Automatic Content Recognition,” which tends to scan the shows watched and share that data with third-party services ultimately to then advertise other shows to watch.
However, protected home support can help the end-user disable ACR on their particular smart TV.
Another smart device many have privacy issues with are smart speakers, such as Amazon’s Echo and Google’s Nest. As smart speakers are able to record voice prompts, support offerings can also help review and delete these recordings in the device’s settings and be removed altogether by disabling the microphone when not in use.
(Learn More from an expert on the frontlines of technical support on how folks can get a helping hand while getting connected to their smart devices. Courtesy of FOX 24 News Now and YouTube. Posted on Jan 25, 2022.)
Future of Smart Home Privacy
With more smart home devices hitting the market in 2022 and beyond, these tips in terms of connectivity, password protection, usage settings, and specific device applications, will definitely help retailers help their customers increase the privacy protection of the home’s smart devices and give a sense of clarity as these devices evolve.
Smart homeowners can now better understand the risks associated with these devices and be more prepared to combat them.
Today’s smart home is also supposed to be a secure home and by implementing the right tech support provider, homeowners can feel comfortable using their smart devices without the fear of someone trying to hack them.
About The Author
Scott McKinley is the Assistant Vice President of Premium Technical Support for Pocket Geek Home. For more information visit www.pocketgeekhome.com.
Scott is a business executive with extensive experience in Sales and Operations within multi-site and global help desk/service desk/customer care/contact center environments.
His experience over the years has been related to building strategic technical support & customer care solutions, running contact center operations, managing teams of Solution Architects and Project Managers responsible for transitioning/transforming new business, and selling to strategic business partners/channels.
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