In today’s world of modern technology, there are several homeowners who fill their living spaces with “smart devices” which are certainly convenient and innovative, but can also come with threats to privacy and security.

Dr. Sumesh Philip, associate professor in the School of Information Technology, is currently conducting research in the area of smart homes, focusing on homeowners’ perceptions of the modern technology and devices that are so prominent today.

“We are living in a very interesting time. Going back to when I was a student dealing with technology, we had access to a few devices like a laptop or smartphone, but now if you look at people’s homes there is a lot more technology around. Devices like smart TVs and smart vacuum cleaners, thermostats, and security cameras are all things that can be controlled through the phone and inspected anywhere in the world,” said Philip.

He noted in many situations, homeowners install smart devices without considering the potential dangers that accompany them.

“Unfortunately, when we buy these devices, we don’t think about the possible hazards that these technologies might present. A lot of times we set up technological devices around the home and install them, use them, then forget about them. At the end of the day these devices have very powerful operating systems that can do the same level of damage that a computer can inflict,” he said.  

Philip explained that it is extremely important for technology users to be conscious of the potential threats that might come with owning such devices, which is the main focus area of his current research project. The goal of his research is to gauge what homeowners think about these new pieces of technology in their homes, especially when it comes to issues of privacy and security.  

“We want to know what people think and how much people know about their devices so we can have an awareness of what needs to be done next, especially in terms of education and solutions to help homeowners protect, manage, and maintain their technology in a safe and secure way,” he said.

The project was funded by a research grant from CAST, which allowed Philip to explore this area of interest.

The research has practical implications, allowing those who read about it to gain better insight into what is missing in current research within the field. Philip also noted that there is an opportunity for businesses to use the results of the research as a benefit when it comes to learning about and creating products that help us use technology safely,

Philip is also interested in exploring other topics, like long-range wide-area networks, and machine learning. His research on smart homes is still being conducted, and he anticipates finishing up data collection and completing the project by the end of this semester.

Want to learn more about majors, research, and programs within the School of Information Technology? Visit their website here for more information.