‘Connected’ Homes: Trends and Key Legal Issues

For most home shoppers, owning a smart home is no longer a dream — it’s an expectation. Particularly among younger generations who have lived most of their lives in the digital era, staying connected is a way of life. So it’s no surprise they want their homes to be connected, too.

We’ve reached a point where the majority of consumers are not only willing to invest in it, but they are expecting their next home to be connected.
But with the potential for massive data collection, a gaping variance in product quality, and a dependence on software and software updates, there are some pretty important ramifications to consider.
Here is a look at the emerging trends in connected-home technology and potential liability concerns and ways to make sure you are properly conveying to customers any risks associated with this new and expanding market.
Stephen Embry, a partner with the law firm of Frost Brown Todd in Lexington, Ky., and Grayling Love II, product line manager at Eaton Corporation in Peachtree City, Ga., discussed these issues with NAHB’s Construction Liability, Risk Management and Building Materials Committee at the 2017 Midyear Meeting. Here’s what they had to say. Note: The full text of this Q and A is available on the NAHB website.
What does the exploding use of smart technologies mean for home builders?
Home owners and purchasers will no doubt be asking builders more and more about smart homes and devices, and will expect builders to be knowledgeable, Embry said. How builders answer home owners’ questions is a not just an issue of customer relations, but may also carry some legal risk avoidance ramifications as well.
In fact, a builder’s best protection against exposure may be what they are able tell home owners about these devices. One challenge we have with smart homes and the “Internet of Things” (IoT), however, is that there are not yet standards governing these devices. Read the rest of article

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