When Home Automation Goes Very, Very Wrong


You may have read a funny, but disturbing, viral story recently about how one family’s experience with a Roomba went from awesome to downright dirty. Basically, a guy had set up his Roomba to run in the middle of the night, while everyone was asleep. That sounds logical to me, and it worked well for the family for months – their floors were always clean and the Roomba was never in the way. Until one day when their dog had an accident on the rug – before the Roomba made its nightly sweep. So, when the Roomba ran overnight, it ran over a pile of fresh-ish dog poop, and the result was that the Roomba made a mess instead of cleaning up a mess. The spinning brushes that work so great at picking up dirt also work great at spreading dog poop all over the house.

While this situation is definitely a nightmare that I’m happy to say I haven’t experienced, it isn’t the only time that home automation has gone wrong. Here are a few other mishaps that can, and have, happened with home automation devices.

Hacked Cameras

Having security cameras and video-enabled baby monitors is one way that homeowners and parents help themselves feel at ease. The problem is that sometimes these devices can get hacked. This can lead to some scary situations-like the parents that thought a man was in their nursery, only to find out someone had hacked their baby-cam and was using it to talk to their baby. Hacking of cameras doesn’t always have to be scary, though. Sometimes it could just be a friend that hacks the camera so that they can play a joke on you.

It’s Getting Hot in Here

Another vulnerable device is a smart thermostat. If you have friends or partners that are synced to your thermostat, they can totally mess with you – either for fun or for malice – and you could end up paying big in the end. If your ex remotely taps into your thermostat and cranks the air on for a few hours every day, you might never know until your next bill arrives.

Not-So-Surprise Party

Surprise parties are super fun, but watch out if you try to hold one at your house if it has smart cameras. You might be with your husband or wife, distracting them while your friends and family set up the party at the house. The problem is, your security cameras might detection the motion and continuously alert your spouse that someone is in the house – and even worse, they might be able to access a live feed of the house!

No Control

It is pretty awesome to be able to control your home with your phone – that is until you drop your phone in the toilet. All of a sudden you are no longer connected to all those apps you need to work the lights, TV, garage, house locks. Sure, you probably have a remote control somewhere, and there are light switches on the walls (you’re sure they are there), but you’re still going to fumble for a bit until you can get a new phone and get reconnected.