Categories: Cybersecurity, IoT
Tags: Allegion

The security considerations of voice assistants

voice assistants

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Voice assistants have already comfortably found a place in our busy, modern lives. Recent statistics have shown that ownership of smart speakers – including the Amazon Echo – has doubled in six months in the UK. In the US, 39 million smart speakers were shipped in 2018, with 41 million units forecast for 2019.

This rapid progression and popularity in voice-controlled devices around the home begs the question: where does voice control feature in security systems and what opportunities can it bring to the construction industry?

The Internet of Things (IoT) has already made it possible for the convergence of mechanical and electronic security systems, so voice control may be the natural progression in the advancement of security systems. As well as the opportunities it invites, we must also factor in the questions around voice control as a viable, secure solution.

The industry is changing, but don’t forget security   

In the construction industry, voice control is a considerably new technology.

The industry is undergoing a period of change, where tech is enabling numerous opportunities to leverage new and old solutions. Alongside technological developments, we’re now able to implement comprehensive, holistic, layered solutions for the betterment of our safety and security protocols.

As an industry, we’re certainly not far from incorporating smart objects – whether that’s doors or walls – into our systems.

What we’re now seeing is a rise in the creation of smart tags and devices which transform everyday, mundane objects into smart devices. These tags work by connecting the objects to WiFi, transforming them into IoT devices.

And, much like these forms, voice control is on the rise too. However, whilst promising greater ease and efficiency, we must be sure it matches up with regards to security.

Voice assistants are the latest innovation; what about cybersecurity?

Voice assistants understandably raise questions pertaining to cybersecurity. For example, those using it as a means of improving security want to consider several things. Voice assistants face many of the same cybersecurity threats that other connected products face. No device, whether IoT or not, is immune from cybersecurity vulnerabilities. The key is the ability to update software and apps and to select a device from someone with a reputation for quality and security.

Although in its infancy, voice-controlled devices also need to consider the user experience and task to be done. This means implementing the technology for the benefit of specific requirements, allowing all those interacting with it to carry out the tasks that they need to. Therefore, a whole network of considerations needs to be in place to utilise voice control to its full potential alongside an accompanying security strategy.

The technology behind voice biometrics continues to progress, meaning sophisticated voice recognition has also improved. Voice can not only offer convenience, but be an extra layer of security, especially when used as a multi-factor authentication to increase trust security strength.

Allegion voice solutions

Voice-control is already in and around many of our homes and IoT security systems that integrate with voice assistants have increased in popularity over the last few years. Many companies have also developed apps that connect to your video doorbell allowing you to see who’s at your front door and talk to them via your smartphone, wherever you are.

So where do voice-enabled devices fit amongst Allegion’s state-of-the-art systems?

Alongside mobile credentials, PIN codes and access control readers, voice provide additional convenience and security. Allegion was an early leader in voice integration for residential security: Schlage Connect, Schlage Sense and CISA MyEvo work with popular voice assistants and business investments have been made in Pindrop and Nuki, which incorporate voice into their solutions. Earlier this month, Schlage Encode was introduced – a deadbolt with WiFi connectivity built in – making voice-enabled locking even easier.

However, this is just the beginning for Allegion and the industry as a whole. What we can expect in the future is not only the groundbreaking innovations, but the opportunities it wields, too. As an industry, safety and security are top priorities. Working with technologies such as artificial intelligence and voice will enable manufacturers to foster new, convenient solutions whilst maintaining a firm grip on quality and security.

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