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As the smart home market matures, artificial intelligence (AI) has come to the fore. Smart speakers are driving this development, with 47.3 million American adults now having access to devices such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, equivalent to one-fifth of the population. With security one of the most popular applications of smart home technology, this places AI in a central role for providing home security. Here’s a look at some of the ways artificial intelligence is helping keep smart homes safe.

Voice Authentication

One challenge for smart home security is preventing voice impersonations. When you use smart speakers to control your home’s security system or to place orders online, there is the risk that criminals may hack into your system and impersonate you. For instance, a criminal might tell your speaker to deactivate your security system, or a hacker might use your credit card number.

To prevent this, smart speaker providers have begun using AI to incorporate voice authentication into their products. For instance, Google Home recently introduced voice recognition that uses machine learning to tell one speaker’s voice from another. Registered users can train Google Home to recognize their voice by repeating the phrases “Okay Google” and “Hey Google” twice each. This allows Google Home to verify when it’s really a legitimate user speaking.

Intrusion Detection

Voice impersonation is only one way hackers can attempt to exploit your smart home network. Any smart home device on your network represents a potential point of vulnerability, including desktops, laptops, smartphones, smart TVs, smart speakers, smart thermostats, smart appliances, wearables, printers and routers. Smart homeowners often may not think to secure some of these devices. For instance, you may not realize that leaving your router’s default password unchanged makes it easier for hackers to breach your network.

To help protect smart homes from hackers, antivirus providers have developed AI-powered devices and software that can detect online intruders. AI machine learning can study normal network traffic patterns in order to identify anomalies and flag suspicious behavior. For instance, Norton has developed the Core router, which uses artificial intelligence to automatically detect and neutralize intrusion attempts on any device in your smart home network.

Smart Surveillance Analysis

Another way artificial intelligence helps make smart homes safer is by making it easier to pick out relevant images from surveillance footage. For instance, a smart homeowner using a wire-free security camera with smartphone app integration may have access to a virtually unlimited amount of surveillance footage they can view on their mobile device. However, monitoring all this footage in order to identify relevant security details can be a considerable chore.

This is where artificial intelligence is lending a hand. By applying technology such as machine learning, AI can automatically detect images representing security breaches and send an alert to homeowners, security monitoring services or law enforcement, allowing for more rapid response. In the process, AI can rule out false positives, for instance, by distinguishing the image of an intruder breaking into a window from the image of a bird perched on a tree near the window. This reduces the rate of false alarms, making authorities more likely to give high priority to genuine alerts. AI also makes it easier to scan through security footage for details useful for identifying suspects, such as facial images or license plate numbers of vehicles. This increases the likelihood of capturing perpetrators and recovering stolen property.

Artificial intelligence is protecting smart homes by providing authentication for voice control of smart speakers. AI is also helping stop smart homes from being hacked by using the power of machine learning to intercept and arrest suspicious attack patterns. AI is making surveillance smarter as well by using image detection to automatically detect relevant security footage. Leveraging the power of AI is making smart homes safer and keeping homeowners more secure.

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