Is Smart Home Technology Right for You?
If you live in a “smart home,” you know what all the buzz is about. For those who don’t have a smart home, it might be helpful to understand what this term means.
Smart home technologies are digital devices and applications that can provide more automation in a home, and in some instances, make a home’s energy use more environmentally friendly.
Smart home technologies allow us to execute home automation. This opens up several tantalizing possibilities. Who wouldn’t like to sprinkle their lawns, turn appliances on or off, control security systems and operate devices while they are away?
Let’s look at the pros and cons of smart home technology.
Pros of Smart Home Technology
Smart home technologies will make your home more energy efficient once they are installed. This is not a particularly new concept since home automation has been applied in a number of forms to increase energy efficiency. For instance, you can use automated thermostats—also called smart thermostats--to set the duration and timing of air conditioning.
But smart home systems will take this a few steps further through the use of several amazing features. For instance, if you are out of your house and want to get back and be greeted by a refreshing pre-cooled environment, you can arrange that by using your smartphone to turn on the air conditioners before you arrive.
There are also other ways where the confluence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Internet of Things (IoT) will result in energy savings.
For instance, you can install smart motion detectors that automatically turn off the lights, fans and air conditioning when the room has no occupants. Forgetfulness is one reason why energy bills are so high. Kids, in particular, tend to be forgetful since they don’t have as much sense of responsibility as adults do.
In fact, with the help of AI, smart systems will be able to learn your habits and automatically run according to your preferences based on your past use.
Convenience is now the new necessity in today’s hectic and fast-paced environment. We seem to have so little time not only for others but also for ourselves. There is so much work to do every day that even small chores start feeling onerous. In short, we have very little time and energy and any amount of smart automation no matter how small will be welcome. Even small convenience can offer big relief.
When you flop down on your bed after a hard day, it is only natural to doze off all of a sudden without turning off the lights. And when you are struggling to wake up in the morning the last thing you want is to struggle and fiddle with your thermostat. Automation and smart technology, therefore, have plenty of scope for providing convenience and remedying annoyances.
As a result, smart home technologies are becoming increasingly popular with each passing day. They are also rapidly increasing in sophistication and functionality.
Smart home technology will be able to solve some of your problems in many ways. For instance, if you have left your home for work and suddenly remember that you forget to switch off that coffeemaker, don’t panic. You can simply whip out your smartphone and use your home automation app to turn off that annoying coffeemaker.
Smart cameras and motion detectors can detect intrusion attempts and notify you immediately. In fact, home security was one of the very first applications of smart home technologies. If you have a camera network installed, it is also possible to view your home while you are away. This way you can be carefree and have the reassurance of knowing that everything is alright.
Cons of Smart Home Technology
This is one of the greatest fears concerning IoT devices, which are crucial components of smart home systems. Since everything is interconnected, there is a risk of becoming the victim of hacking and malware attacks. With proper care and due diligence, the risk of them happening can be strongly mitigated. It’s also be a good idea to have your smart home system inspected by a knowledgeable technology professional. Firewalls, encryption protocols, and antivirus systems will have an important role to play.
Dashboards, user interfaces, and apps are extremely easy to use but problems can arise, for instance, when there is a software glitch or something else goes wrong. You will then need the help of a computer professional.
Ideally, you should be able to control each aspect of your smart home system with just one platform. But this may not always be possible with different systems. Therefore, you may need to log onto one platform for your security cameras and then log onto a different platform for your thermostat.
This issue can be resolved by giving importance to compatibility whenever you consider any new smart home technology.
Costs are going down with increasing competition and rapid development. But since so many smart technologies exist, you will incur a great cost if you try to include all of them. You will have to control your budget by opting for smart home technology which you feel is truly worth it.
Also consider that there might be some savings when you install devices such as a smart thermostat so the initial costs can be offset in the future.
A trained electrician with Mister Sparky can do a home inspection and review what smart home technologies might work best in your house and for your budget.