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Why do you need a smart home?

At a glance

  • Surveys suggest half of us are planning to buy a smart home device during the next 12 months
  • We explore the different devices available and the issues your customers should consider before buying one
  • Your customers can receive discounted home insurance thanks to our exclusive partnership with Cocoon, an award-winning smart home security provider

Security looks certain to be a key driver of advances in smart home technology over the years ahead.

While only one-fifth of consumers already own a smart home device, almost half are considering doing so within the next 12 months. Surveys show that home security is the prime motivation for nearly two-thirds of people considering buying a smart device.

In the latest in our series on smart technology for the home, we look in more detail at the risks and rewards of smart security devices, and discuss what your customers need to consider before buying one.

Advantages of smart home security devices

The devices currently available range from smart locks, which allow a user to lock or unlock doors remotely via their smartphone, to smart cameras that can stream and record video footage from inside or outside a property.

Cocoon: the key features

  • Whole home security from one device
  • Uses Subsound® technology to cover the whole home, listening for subtle vibrations in the air caused by movement
  • Will notify users via the Cocoon app on their Android or Apple smartphone if any unusual movement is detected
  • Can stream HD video of a home in real-time, including at night
  • Also allows users to hear audio from their home
  • All its elements are contained on one device, meaning there are no wires or additional sensors

The most obvious advantage of such devices is that they offer your customers new ways to protect their property that traditional devices cannot match.

However, smart home devices also have the power to positively change people’s behaviour. This is something that the team at technology firm Cocoon had in mind two years ago when they were developing their smart home security device.

Colin Richardson, co-founder at Cocoon, explains: “Our research revealed that 95% of alarms in the UK are false alarms.

“This means that when people hear a house alarm, they tend to ignore it. And over time, this changes the behaviour of homeowners, as many will eventually decide there is no point switching their house alarm on.”

Cocoon’s solution was to develop an all-in-one security system that constantly monitors the home for signs of unusual activity, without necessarily activating an alarm.

The Cocoon device uses patented Subsound® technology to listen for subtle vibrations in the air caused by movement, and machine learning (A.I) to work out if the sounds are intruders. If it detects something unusual, it will send a notification, as well as HD video footage, to a user’s smartphone. They can then decide whether to sound an alarm, call the police or take no action if they are satisfied nothing untoward is going on.

Cocoon can also help inform homeowners about the safety of family members.

Colin says: “One simple example could be if you were away on a business trip and your device sent you an alert at 10pm to say your child still wasn’t back home.

“We want to provide people with useful information like this that can help them understand how to make themselves safer.”

Zurich’s partnership with Cocoon: how it works

If a customer has already bought a Cocoon device, they can receive a 10% discount on Zurich’s Home Solutions 2 policy. Brokers can ask customers for their Cocoon serial number, and then enter a special discount code to obtain their 10% deduction.

Customers who don’t yet have a Cocoon device can get 10% off Zurich’s Home Solutions 2 and £50 off Cocoon via their broker.

Visit https://www.zurich.co.uk/broker/cocoon.htm for the full details.

What are the risks of smart home devices?

There could be a number of reasons why many people have yet to invest in smart home technologies:

  • Cost
  • Concerns devices will be complicated to install
  • Fears over privacy
  • Hacking and cyber security concerns

Colin agrees these are key challenges for manufacturers of smart home devices, and issues that all customers should consider before making a purchase.

In relation to cyber security, although there have been isolated cases where hackers have managed to take control of webcams, baby monitors and other smart home devices, Sanjay Parekh, Cocoon CEO, believes theft of personal data is a greater risk.

With 70% of IoT devices suspected to have cyber security vulnerabilities, it’s important your customers select smart devices with high cyber security standards.

Sanjay says: “Protecting customer information is something that every manufacturer should take incredibly seriously. Cocoon is unique in that all the video and audio footage is processed on the device itself, only sending encrypted data to secure cloud services, and only the smartphone user has access to that data.”

An opportunity for brokers and customers

We have launched an exclusive trial partnership with Cocoon (see above), giving your customers the opportunity to save money on their home security devices and home insurance policies.

For more information about how your customers can take advantage of this partnership, speak to your local Zurich contact.

Image © Getty

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