The growth of Artificial Intelligence (AI) technologies in our homes have been increasing exponentially in the past few years, and with a large number of the UK workforce embracing the pandemic-imposed working-from-home culture, for many of us our homes have become our office.
In this article, we consider the impact of this shift from a data perspective with a particular focus on smart speakers and other devices containing “virtual assistant” technology.
Know Your Devices
Smart speakers, such as Amazon Alexa and Google Home, are becoming mainstream in homes around the country. Many owners of smart speakers are by now aware that these devices are always “listening” for their “wake word” – which enables the device to listen to user queries and commands.
The reality is that smart speakers are most likely not the only technology in your home which are “listening” for a “wake word” – mobile devices, tablets and computers also often have built-in virtual assistants, and it is becoming increasingly common for other devices (for example, TVs) to integrate virtual assistants too. You should become familiar with the smart tech in your home.
Mute Voice-Input
A smart speaker may inadvertently start recording confidential conversations if it hears its wake command, and therefore ensuring that voice-input is muted can be effective in preventing this.
However, in line with our recommendation above about getting to know your devices, remember it is not only smart speakers which may constantly be in “listening” mode. If you are having confidential conversations – analyse whether it would be best practice to mute voice-input on each of these devices.
Wear Headsets.
It might not always be practical for you to mute voice-input on all of your devices. Consider whether there are other ways to prevent data from being heard, and potentially recorded, by smart devices. For example, wearing a headset on your calls

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