Keen cartoon fans will remember The Jetsons, the space age family who got into all sorts of scrapes. The cartoon was set in 2062 and included all sorts of technology that, at the time it was made, seemed a long way off and very farfetched. Some of these technological devices are actually in existence today, while others may not be achieved until 2062.
Video chat and video conferencing was featured heavily, with hologram representation of people also a feature of these futuristic methods of communication. Over the last 12 months we have relied heavily on video calling and online collaboration tools to make working from home, and staying in touch with loved ones, a reality. While we may not all have access to hologram rendering technology at home, it does exist and has been used to create concerts by deceased artists and in many other applications that, in 1962 when The Jetsons was first created, seemed a century away.
Drones and flying, driverless cars were also a feature and this has partly come to fruition. Drones are used for all sorts of purposes, from recording sporting events and capturing aerial footage to military and surveillance operations. Amazon has trialled drone delivery to customers and how this technology could improve order picking and packing in their warehouses. Driverless cars are in development and have improved quickly over the last few years, being able to respond to real time hazards on the road. Flying cars may still be a way off – the cost involved in personal flying transportation means that it will be many years before we’re all able to fly to the park. There is also the safety aspect to consider, which is where the driverless (or pilotless) part will be needed.
Smart watches and home automation were quite at home in The Jetsons, with shopping ordered through a smart portal and ovens that could be turned on with a voice command. At the time this seemed like a world away, but this was achieved within 50 years of the original air date, not 100 as predicted. We can use our smart watches and fitness devices to connect to our phones, and even to our fridge, washing machine or central heating systems. However, something The Jetsons didn’t cover in great detail was the hacking potential of automated home devices, and this can be a real problem in the modern world.
We understand that there is a concern around the vulnerability of smart home devices, and this is justified as there have been many reports of home devices being hacked in order to gain access to the home internet network, and then to steal personal and financial data. If you want to use smart home devices ensure that your home Internet of Things (IoT) is on a separate network that can’t be used to gain access to your main WiFi network, keeping your laptops, phones and tablets safe from hackers.
The benefits that automated home devices bring means they are very desirable, especially for early adopters of technology who always want the latest gadget. We would always advise that security should be at the forefront of your mind when making a purchase decision on these new smart devices. Will it need regular software upgrades, how can it be accessed from outside the home, and what else can it connect with that could create a security flaw? These questions should be answered as part of the process before making a purchase.
As these futuristic devices become a common feature of our lives the security of them will have to improve to withstand consumer scrutiny, but while they are being developed it is vital that we are aware of the risks of using them, as well as the benefits.