Report: Most Smart Devices Patched 2 Years, Max

John Lister's picture

Some "smart" home products could become unsupported in just two years according to a consumer group. That could mean premium features stop working and may even create security risks.

The details come from "Which?," a British organization very similar to Consumer Reports in the US. It explored a big potential problem with smart tech: that the support for such features is often guaranteed for much less time than the expected useful lifespan of the product itself.

The group researched smart features, meaning devices were linked to the Internet or a local network and allowing extra control or convenience. They checked up on the update policies for manufacturers of six types of device: dishwashers, printers, smartphones, smartwatches / fitness trackers, televisions and washing machines.

They then compared these policies to their own research on how long such devices are likely to remain working, with any faults still reasonably affordable to repair.

Most Brand Manufacturers Silent

Overall, 49% of the surveyed brands were willing to give details of how long they guaranteed to support smart features.

Among those who gave details, the most extreme shortcomings were for LG. It only promised to support smart features on dishwashers, smart TVs and washing machines for two years after product launch, despite such devices last an average of 13, 6.8 and 11 years respectively. (Source: which.co.uk)

TVs appeared to be a particular problem with other manufacturers promising either two or three years of guaranteed updates. In contrast, Which? praised Hisense for its 10 years of guaranteed support for smart TVs. Smart dishwasher and washing machine manufacturer Miele also offered 10 years of guaranteed updates. (Source: bbc.co.uk)

Money, Planet, and Security At Risk

According to Which?, inadequate support windows for smart devices cause three problems. The first is a simple matter of value. It noted that dishwashers with smart features could cost as much as 64 percent more than ordinary models, money that would be largely wasted if support stopped.

The second problem is environmental, with a risk that lack of support could make users more likely to replace devices even when they were still physically operational.

Finally, the end of support could increase the risk of security breaches, for example from people remotely attacking devices, whether to try to breach a home network or simply cause disruption.

What's Your Opinion?

Do you own any smart home devices? If so, do you know how long support is guaranteed? Should manufacturers be forced to support smart features for longer?

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Comments

Chief's picture

Any early adopters must be cognizant of what they are buying.

Anyone else needs to do their own due diligence.

Caveat emptor.

It's your money and there are many reviews online to watch for free.

Whiners and weepers are exhibitionists.