With more connected devices coming online in the modern smart home, homeowners face the Sisyphean task of managing dozens of devices simultaneously, each with a different mode of interaction and each representing a potential security vulnerability. Can we create an IoT ecosystem for the home that is more secure AND easier to manage?
Insights from research
Most consumers do not go to their devices to “do security” just as they do not go to their internet settings or web browser settings to “do security.” Studies have shown that the average consumer pays little heed to and dismisses many of the security and privacy warnings presented to them in web browsers without reading them. This problem is exaggerated with IoT products which are already designed to exist in the periphery of our attention - the user is prone to forget about the device’s existence, let alone its security and privacy settings.
This project focused on finding an effective and scalable way to ensure the security and privacy of consumer IoT devices by off-loading the burden of security from the user onto the manufacturer. Using a resource-full router as a “hub" of the system, we have one location from which to manage every device, and it stores and processes the data it collects from each device in order to facilitate usable security.
This hub acts as a centralized device for adding, managing, monitoring, and securing devices in a home. In some ways, this hub is like a network firewall, in that we intend that IoT devices go through our hub rather than connecting directly to the Internet. The hub also facilitates the deployment of IoT devices by offering a common platform and a suite of useful services important for mid- and low-end IoT devices, assists with the rapid deployment and evolution of new kinds of services, and presents new ways of connecting devices together in a seamless manner.
1) It’s important to print your designs at the proper scale, because it’s too easy to get used to your digital playground and start using text that’s too small, for example.
2) Always consider scalability as a heuristic, because things can get very complicated very quickly. In this project, designing for scalability meant allowing users more than one way to organize their device list, including ways to quickly see which devices need their attention without having to scan the entire list for alert badges.
3) Objects in the real world can have the same properties and functions as objects in a programming environment.