2019 is seeing the world in which we live rapidly progress towards a Jetsons vision. Oh sure, we’re still awaiting the flying cars that are mega overdue by now. But the rapid technological integration we’re seeing in our homes is making the smart home a reality, with 2.3 million dwellings in Australia recorded as having a smart home device or component within them.
Yet despite how easy George & Co made it seem, the reality is that jumping head first into a full blown smart home can be a very dumb idea indeed. Not because a smart home can’t be great, but because beyond the sleek TV spots and glitzy online ads, building a smart home can be a lot of trial and turmoil.
That’s why it’s essential you’re aware of these 6 facts before buying smart home devices.
1.Not All Devices May Work with Your Current Home Setup
A smart home sounds terrific when seeing the latest gadgets on the shop floor, but once you get them home it may be an ordeal to get them up and running. Beyond going through general hurdles like ensuring you’ve the latest software and compatible technology, you may also need to call the electrician to help get a device installed.
That’s all fine if you’ve the cash on hand and are ready to invest accordingly in a smart home. But it is just something to keep in mind if you consider the price of a smart home mini device is less than $100. This may sound great at the shop but it can be a gateway to a big bill.
2. Not All Devices Will Work Together
For generations various quarters of the tech world have been going back and forth in debate. Apple’s iOS vs Android, Sony’s Playstation vs Microsoft’s Xbox, and so on. Debates like these are nothing new and have been raging since the Microsoft vs MAC wars of the 1980s, and the Nintendo vs Sega battles of the 1990’s.
While our technology is forever evolving, there is a common theme here. Not all technology will automatically sync perfectly with other devices.
This is a really critical thing to understand if you’re planning on buying a smart device not for your home, but for a family member of friend as a gift. Ultimately it’s ideal to first establish what devices are compatible with a home, and then select a device from there.
3. Electricity Bills Can Climb
The introduction of a number of new devices to your home can be great fun. It can also make your life easier – except for when it comes to paying the electricity bill! This is something many people don’t appreciate until they get their next bill and the nasty surprise hits.
Adding a small personal assistant device to your desktop is unlikely to really drive up your bill. But if you have added a number of new devices, and used them inefficiently this can become a big problem. A common mistake here is when people invest in smart lights.
It’s really great to be able to control the brightness of your lights with a mobile or tablet device. But if you forget to switch them off it’s going to burn energy. Even if smart lights can be far more efficient and affordable over time compared to traditional light bulbs, money wasted is money wasted.
4. The Need for Extra Security Inside and Out
You wouldn’t be OK with someone peering into your windows at night or listening to your family conversations. But a smart home can create this vulnerability in more ways than one. Already there have been scandals surrounding a home device’s ability to listen in on what you’re saying when you don’t want it too.
There are methods out there to address this and prevent it, but total peace of mind may prove elusive. Especially because the reality is the more devices you connect in your home the more vulnerable it can become to external attacks.
By no means does this make it likely – yet like having a banking app on your phone can give you extra anxiety if you lose it and worry about what some thief may be doing with it – anyone who does want to rig up their home with wall to wall smart appliances should also consider investing in upgraded security too.
5. Regular Upgrades May Be Required
Because the smart home as a concept is still in its early days – more on that in a moment! – the way in which the industry evolves remains something of a ‘wait and see’. But just the same as we upgrade our phones and computers every couple of years, it’s important to be mindful of this when it comes to any smart home gadgets you may be too.
Sure a big ticket purchase like a smart fridge can be purchased with the expectation it shall be with you for many years to come. But even in cases like this, the ability for your device to stay functioning within your smart home in the future could depend on it having ongoing software support and updates available.
To avoid needing to buy a whole new home few of smart devices every couple of years it’s really important to research devices and their manufacturer’s reputation for technical support before buying.
6. Recognise It’s Still Early Days
Devices like Amazon Echo and Google Home are nice to have, but it’s difficult presently to regard them as essential requirements in the home. In certain instances such as working underneath your car then having a voiceless way to communicate can be really handy. But how often will you find yourself doing that day by day?
The reality is right now there’s few instances where you will really need hands-free operation over just using your phone or tablet regularly. The same applies to many smart devices generally. They are nice additions, but not yet essential or offering a ‘killer app’ advantage.
Being Smart About It
As technology progress its undoubted our homes will get smarter, and our need to have smart devices in our home will become definite. And there’s no reason at all anyone passionate about the possibility of making their home smarter needs to wait right now.
Provided they pursue it with these 6 facts in mind they can be pioneers! But for anyone else out there wondering whether they are behind the pace in not yet having a state of the art smart home? You’re not late, if anything you’re early!
And meantime, don’t forget about all the amazing fun you can have with tried and true technology. We may not yet have flying cars, but we’ve a whole ton of amazing gadgets on hand today that people could only dream of just a few short years ago.
Finally, for anyone who is determined to get a gadget (or a whole ton of them!) setup in their smart home but is having trouble? My team and I are always available to arrange a house call to assist you with installation. Give us a call on 9555 6684 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to book in a time.
Until next time, happy teching!
Paul & the Horizon Tech Team