Below are some common questions related to the privacy, safety and security of the
Connected Home and Small Business Demonstration.
If I sign up for the Connect Home and Small Business Demonstration, what technology will I be getting?
There will be four technology groups or “Journeys” as part of this trial. Each trial will receive a different combination of devices such as window and door sensors, leak sensors, temperature sensors, smart thermostats and some journeys will include an Amazon Echo Dot and/or tablet.
What data will be collected if I participate?
There are no video cameras at all in the Demonstration. We will be using window and door sensors combined with a smart thermostat to understand how customers can reduce energy use with smart devices. Some participants will receive an Amazon Echo Dot which is a voice activated personal home assistant. The Dot can shut off lights and adjust your thermostat with voice command.
What is BGE monitoring?
BGE is specifically looking at your energy bill as it compares to a period when you are not using the technology. We are also evaluating which devices in the home are most frequently used.
Is my data or behavior being shared with anyone outside BGE?
What if I do not want to participate?
This Demonstration is entirely voluntary. We believe that participants will see advantages in using this technology.
Our purpose for this Demonstration is only to evaluate the benefits of these technologies against bill and energy reduction. All technology used in this Demonstration is publicly available.
What if I am not comfortable with one of the technologies?
You do not have to participate in this Demonstration. It is entirely voluntary.
Are the connected devices a risk to my privacy?
The devices we will be using in the Demonstration are smart plugs, smart lighting and different kinds of sensors. In some instances, an Amazon Dot will be used. All the journeys include access to the BGE Connected Annapolis app. Participants do not enter any financial or personal information into the app other than a password of their choosing. Hackers are more likely to pursue targets where financial and personal information is available rather than how frequently you turn on and off your lights or adjust your thermostat.
Also, the only device with any kind of recording capabilities is the Amazon Echo Dot in the home. According to Amazon’s website, “Echo devices are designed to detect only your chosen wake word (Alexa, Amazon, Computer or Echo). The device detects the wake word by identifying acoustic patterns that match the wake word. No audio is stored or sent to the cloud unless the device detects the wake word (or Alexa is activated by pressing a button).”
If I participate in the Demonstration, is there anything I can do to further protect my privacy?
Be sure to choose a password that is unique for the Connected Annapolis App. Try and use more than 8 characters, a number and a symbol. Also, it is critically important that participants have a fully secure WiFi network that is password protected. An open WiFi networks creates privacy risks that have nothing to do with the technology in this Demonstration.
What safety and security measures do you have in place?
BGE is committed to keeping its customers and their data safe. We receive your energy use regularly as part of our daily course of business and are making no changes in how we protect customer information, data and privacy.