Smart homes offer technological solutions by providing innovative concepts and improved standards in day-to-day living aspects. In Malaysia, there is a steady growth of smart home automation. To name a few, Mitraland Group’s, Andamanan Residences serviced apartments, I-Berhad’s, i-City and TA First Credit’s Damansara, Idaman. According to the Eta Wahab’s article ‘A study on the smart home automation in Malaysia; A foresight perspective’, smart homes has a set of advanced technologies in which the home environment is monitored by ambient, intelligence facilitating remote home control. It is a home that is equipped with network-connected products via Wi-fi, Bluetooth or similar protocols by controlling, automating and optimising functions such as temperature, lightning, security, or entertainment either remotely by a phone, computer, or a separate system within the home itself. According to Eta Wahab, in their article, smart homes can be characterised by 4 aspects: (i) A communication network connects the different devices with each other; (ii) Intelligent controls to manage the system; (iii) Sensors that collect information; and (iv) smart features, which respond to information from sensors or user instructions as well as the system provider.
With the tremendous development of Internet of Thing (IoT), the evolution of the smart devices and data has increased tenfold. A home automation setup furnishes a household with smart meters, smart appliances, lighting / climate control system, entertainment systems, communication systems and security systems. This equipment and technologies minimise the resident’ intervention in monitoring and controlling home appliances for convenience and promote energy efficiency. According to the Statista, a German online portal that collects and collates market research data from a range of sources, Malaysians are investing a large amount of funds to make their homes smarter and an estimation of US$299 million will be spent on smart home devices by 2023, up from US$103 million in 2019 (The figure below shows the smart home revenue forecast in Malaysia until 2026. Source: Statista, Most recent update: Jul 2022 )
Despite the positive outlook on Malaysian’s smart home perspective, the main challenges of smart home technologies are the issues related to security and privacy. Although there are many security technologies and practises in place to maintain individual privacy, it is unknow if there are government policies to enforce and maintain these standards. With home security services, there will be collection of large number of sensitive and personal data for day-to-day activities. Security and safety of homeowners is the number one concern. The threat of data loss and hacking, counterfeiting, denial of services, eavesdropping, buffer loading, malicious amendments, password-based attacks and so on can make homeowners vulnerable to hackers
The growing concern with Malaysia’s smart homes is the uncertainty and people perspective towards smart home technologies and the development of IoT. According to a study carried out by Z A Rasyidah, A H Hariati, M Rosadah and M R Maryanti, Department of Real Estate, Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, Universiti Teknologi, Malaysia, the ‘Perception on smart home concept among the millennials in Johor’ they have found that the knowledge of smart home concepts is still relatively low among that target population. However, on the other hand, as the development of IoT is concerned, especially with the enrolment of 2015’s National IoT Strategic Roadmap by Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, there is increasing awareness of IoT in Malaysia as laid out in the Digital Edge’s article, The Edge Weekly on February 8, 2021. The article claimed that the number of industry players of IoT had increased and there is a steady development on the smart home market in Malaysia especially since the cost of implementing IoT solutions has fallen over the years.
The progression and development towards adopting these technologies by institutions, especially the government may take time and would need to be tailored accordingly.
In conclusion, developing technologies especially smart home and IoT, offer tangible benefits and make life easier to a certain extent but they have their shortcomings and drawbacks.