The smart home has problems. And because it has problems, adoption rates are still low. If only the smart home was perfect, if only it weren’t confusing, if only it worked without issue. For as many problems as people claim the smart home has, there are an equal number of answers. The most common complaints include compatibility confusion, security, and installation. All three have very simple and straightforward solutions.
1. Smart Home Compatibility
Z-wave, Zigbee, Bluetooth, WiFi, Thread, Insteon, the amount of smart home protocols can be intimidating. How will you know if your $200 thermostat will talk to your lights or if your lights will flicker when your door opens? While this admittedly isn’t an easy problem to solve, there are a vast amount of online resources to help. If you prefer to absorb data in chart format, this guide to smart home compatibility is your jam. If you’re a database junky, check this out. Using either of these two tools will help you confirm if smart home devices will talk to each other before you purchase.
2. Is My Smart Home Secure?
News sites love to stir up drama. It seems like every week they blame the internet of things for breaking the internet. But the solution to this problem lies predominantly in your hands. First of all, the most recent attack was caused by a very specific set of DVRs and IP cameras manufactured by one vendor, yet headlines blamed smart devices at large. So your first step is to remain calm and buy from trusted manufacturers. But even then, you may be vulnerable. Your best defense is to change your device password to something unique and to secure your home WiFi using a strong password and perhaps even a personal firewall.
3. Installation Is Not My Thing
As simple as it might seem to setup smart home toys for tech lovers, it doesn’t seem easy to people who don’t share an enthusiast’s enthusiasm. The good news is that help is on the way. Amazon currently offers installation services on many popular connected devices including ecobee and Google OnHub. If you’re lucky enough to live in certain geographic locations, you can also call on services like Enjoy to not only deliver and setup your device but to also teach you how to use it. If you are intimidated by the installation process, there are plenty of solutions. And really most people shouldn’t be turned off by this “problem” at all. Most of the devices are easier to setup than a smartphone. For example, to install Philips Hue, you quite literally plug in the bridge, screw in your bulb, turn on a lamp, and download the smartphone app. I think you can handle that, don’t you?
So there you have it, with a little ingenuity and elbow grease the smart home world is much less frightening than you might think. While it isn’t problem free, most of the problems hyped by the media are easily solved.