Most of us have heard of home automation and many people know about open source. Buy why open source home automation?
In this post I will take you through some of the biggest reasons as to why we would want to know what tech giants software is doing in our new home gadgets.
For those of us who don’t know what open and closed software is, don’t worry as I have that covered here too.
I will also briefly talk about many factors as to why the closed source technology behind our cameras and microphones can be dangerous in our homes and how open source can help us to stay safer.
What Is Open Source Home Automation?
The term “open source” describes software programs and/or electronics hardware that is open for anyone to view and modify.
Software needs to be written by a programmer. We call this the source code. This source code generally needs to be compiled in to binary executable code for the computer to understand it.
It’s difficult or even impossible to reverse this binary code back into source code and so the user of the program doesn’t know how that particular program works exactly.
“Home automation” is a system (or many systems) that’s made up of many parts. Devices with electronic sensors and output components such as motors is just one part of a home automation system.
Other parts may include a home server and remote servers somewhere on the internet.
By having an open source home automated system we can stop evil tech companies from doing evil things.
“What evil things?” you might ask.. I will go in to more detail on this subject further down the page.
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What Is Closed Source Home Automation?
In contrast to open source then we also have closed source.
Amazon Echo, Google Home and Ring Security are among the many home automation products on the market today.
But how do they work? What information about you are they sending back to headquarters?
These commercial products are running software that only the manufacturers have access to.
Security & Data Harvesting From Closed Source Home Automation
Evil Tech Giants
Many evil tech companies exist in this world unfortunately and they want as much information on you as possible.
The main reason for this today is to sell your data to advertising companies but who knows what else they use your data for!
It could be possible for these companies to access your home surveillance system and watch you and your family at home. They would also know when you’re not at home.
Listen to your conversations, discover what your hobbies are, what TV programs you like to watch. The list goes on.
Of course we don’t think about any of this when we see an advertisement for shiny new expensive gadget.
Governments across the world can and do gain access to your systems through these tech giants.
We just make it too easy for them to spy on us.
These companies will do anything that government will ask of them just to keep their business running and continue to make huge profits.
Most people associate hackers or crackers to be the worst kind of people to gain unauthorised access to your home automation system.
Although this may be true in some instances but have you noticed that they were bottom of this list here?
Subscription Model Culture
It’s a well-known fact in business that subscription model income is one of the most profitable ways for companies to generate revenue.
We see it all the time in media streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime and Disney Plus for example.
But it doesn’t stop there. Gaming platforms such as Playstation and Xbox use this model, along with mobile gaming and now we have car manufacturers wanting to charge a monthly fee for features such as heating your own car seats!
IoT and home automation industries are no different.
Having home automation systems in your home is certainly considered a luxury as we can live perfectly fine without it.
But businesses in this niche know that if you have the money to spend on home automation then they’re coming after your bank account by implementing the subscription model in anyway possible.
The subscription business model will only become worse in general but because the IoT industry is very new to us, there will be many possibilities in the future for the consumer to be taken advantage of.
Consumers Fighting Back With Open Source
Already we can see the subscription model being used by companies in IoT and home automation.
A service that keeps our doors locked when we’re not at home is not a service that anyone is simply going to stop paying for.
Do you really want to pay someone a monthly fee to allow you to view your own home camera footage from a remote location?
So how will open source home automation help us get around these evil subscription models?
By building an open source home automation system we can implement any feature possible without the need to pay a third-party a recurring monthly fee.
This is bad news for businesses but great for us, the consumer.
How Do I Make A Home Automation System?
This website is dedicated to teaching you the basics of building home automation projects along with ‘Internet of Things’ and robotics.
Most of the content I have here is interchangeable. Meaning that IoT projects use the same principles, hardware, equipment etc. as home automation and robotics for example.
I have listed some of my posts here that will help you on your journey to make your very own home automation projects:
In this post I covered what open and closed source is, and how using closed source can be dangerous if we’re not mindful of what could be happening in our homes.
I also covered how you can begin to learn making your very own open source home automation projects.