Electric Power Meters

Smart Meters are electrical power meters that record and send information about a home’s electrical consumption to an electric company. This information could be useful to digital forensic investigators because it may reveal the times and dates when residential electrical consumption was most active. With some analysis, investigators may be able to differentiate between appliances, such as an electrical oven, or hot water heater. These data can provide information for pattern of life analysis, as well as predictive analysis for future events.

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Personal assistants

These devices are voice-activated and are used to play music, provide news, weather and traffic reports by wirelessly (wifi and bluetooth) connecting to Amazon’s cloud services (i.e. Alexa). The voice recognition works in a similar manner to iPhone’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana. Because the device is voice activated, it is always powered and its microphones are always listening for commands. Echo can also connect and manage lights and electrical outlets from other vendors including WeMo,

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Home security systems

These security systems record entry and exit, locking and unlocking of exterior doors (and perhaps garage). They are able to monitor and alert when windows or doors are open. The cameras can often store up to 24 hours of internal or external video either locally or in the vendor’s cloud network. Smart security systems are also often paired and integrated with home automation systems. The cameras can also be managed remotely from smartphones, and used to alert users of activity,

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Home automation

These electronic systems integrate with electrical outlets, appliances, and heating and cooling systems in order to help manage one’s home ambient lighting and temperature. The devices are controlled using smartphone or web based applications, which may be accessible over the public internet. Many of these technologies also integrate with, and can be managed through, the Apple HomeKit iPhone application.

  • Examples: Belkin, WeMo, Philips Hue, SmartThings, Insteon, Wink
  • Technologies: wifi, 3/4G,

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Large appliances

Many new appliances such as refrigerators, ovens, dishwashers, washers, and dryers will include outward facing cameras, built-in tablet computers, and network capability. Fridges can use these cameras to track each user who opens the fridge, saving the image to a local storage unit. Washers and dryers that are wifi enabled will send text alerts to the user when the washing or drying cycle has completed. Washing machines, for instance, can be configured to send alerts (text messages or emails) to the owner when the cycle has completed.

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