How to Be Smart About Smart Home Devices

How to Be Smart About Smart Home Devices

It seems to be all about smart homes these days. We are building intelligence into everything from light bulbs to toasters. It is past time we increased our own smarts concerning all these smart devices. One of the first things we need to realize is that the term smart is a marketing device. It probably doesn’t mean what you think it does.

Just because something is called smart does not mean that it is smart. It likely just means that it has a wifi component and an IP address so that it can be connected to the internet. It could also be smart insofar as it can automate some tasks when certain conditions are met. At a certain time in the evening, indoor lights are dimmed. Bedroom lights take a warmer Hugh. And outdoor lights turn on.

Some smart home devices are really quite smart. While others are somewhat questionable. It is past time we stop buying based on the marketing material and start asking better questions before bringing these devices into our homes. Here are a few questions we need to be asking:

Does It Make Your Life Better?

Sometimes we get so excited about a new technology that we just buy it for the cool factor. We skip the step of checking to see if it is actually useful. Cool features that are not particularly useful are what we typically call gimmicks. A lot of smart home devices are little more than the latest gimmicks that only benefit the company making it, and not the person buying it.

Home security is the ultimate smart home application because it is always useful no matter who you are or where you happen to be in the world. The smart home security Phoenix retailers provide is just as useful and necessary as the smart home security systems in Boston or Seattle. Climate does not matter. Population density is not a factor. Home security is always in season and remains one of the smartest options you can add to any home.

Are the Smart Home Devices Safe?

Not every smart home device that promises safety is itself, safe. A smart home is a safe home. But not all smart devices that promise safety are actually safe. A smart door lock seems like a brilliant idea until it is shown that your particular smart lock is easily hackable. Rather than make your home safer, you have made it more vulnerable.

The same is true for smart security cameras. They are great when they are acting as an extra set of eyes to watch your home. But they are not so great when someone takes over control and uses those eyes to watch the movements of you and your family.

At the heart of this concern is the fact that for years, manufacturers of these items have not prioritized security and encryption, opting for cheaper and faster to market solutions. Studies show that smart home devices are not very secure. That means it is up to the consumer to do the extra research necessary to discover which companies are doing the right thing when it comes to security.

Is This Smart Home Device Compatible?

One of the biggest barriers to smart home adoption is the fact that it is hard to randomly select two devices that are compatible with one another. Do you have a Zigby home, or something else? Are you a HomeKit household or Android? Will your lights work with your security camera? Can everyone in the home control the thermostat?

Before you buy your first smart home device, you need to know something about the ecosystem you are buying into. And once you have made that choice, you need to be sure that everything else you add is compatible with that first decision.

While security is always smart and useful, you need to demand that of all your smart home devices. Otherwise, they are just so much clutter. While you are at it, make sure they are safe and compatible. When you prioritize these things, you will make smarter decisions about your smart home.