532174354When the failure of a smart product leads to a fire, the challenge of how smart home applications should be evaluated and examined as a potential cause becomes a more complex undertaking than the failure of a similar but dumb product.

Lawyers who defend manufacturers in product liability fire losses will likely be the first to challenge expert findings from a fire scene investigation and laboratory analysis of evidence and artifacts collected post-fire if IoT-connected products found at the scene are not addressed in a way that takes into account the new complexities and vulnerabilities. In particular, the ability to ”rule out” an IoT product rather than point to it as a cause may be more problematic if the investigator and experts retained to conduct the cause and origin investigation fundamentally do not understand the complexity of the smart products − or until the standards catch up with the technology.

Read H. Michael O’Brien’s most recent contribution to IoT literature, “The Impact of the Smart Home Revolution on Product Liability and Fire Cause Determinations.”