On the first night in his new home, Clint Basinger was unpacking a few stray boxes in the living room, when out of nowhere at around midnight, he heard a voice echoing down the hallway from the other side of the house. “Good night,” the voice said. “It’s bedtime.”
Then, he heard the sound of locks clicking. “I couldn’t do anything with the doors, all the windows were armed, all the motion sensors turned on,” said Mr. Basinger, who had spent 15 years saving up to buy the three-bedroom, split-level house in Asheville, N.C. “I had no clue what to do, so I just stayed locked inside the house that night.”
Turns out, the home’s previous owner had installed a smart security system that he neglected to tell Mr. Basinger about. “It was really disconcerting, being in a new place and having no control over what was happening,” said Mr. Basinger, 36, the host of a YouTube channel for retro technology and video game reviews.
These days, smart technology can be found within virtually any quotidian object in a home: televisions, fridges, voice assistants, doorbells, coffee makers, thermostats, lights, alarm clocks, vacuums, toothbrushes and more. According to a 2022 report from the technology company Plume, households in the United States had an average of 20 internet-connected devices.