Smart homes are no longer a fanciful consideration. The technology market is full of devices automating household processes. The Internet of Things (I.O.T.) works towards the homeowner’s convenience and security. Despite their usage, smart home technologies also have a number of disadvantages. Incorporating them into your house is a personal decision. Consider the following pros and cons before making your home “smart”.
• Convenience. Controlling items around the house with one button or a voice command seems like a dream. People often forget to turn off the lights, TV, the oven, an iron, a washing machine, or radio when they leave home. And even if they haven’t, but cannot remember the moment of switching off, they worry it may have happened. With smart home technologies, they no longer have to return home in such cases. Automated technology can allow remote control from a personal device.
• Efficiency. Energy resources are limited, and the global population is growing fast. Smart thermostats optimize the temperature in the home. They even take routine patterns into account, creating more comfortable conditions for those time periods when the homeowners are usually in. At other times energy consumption may lower automatically. Smart light bulbs turn on and off reacting on the motion within a room. Smart faucets prevent water misuse. Smart TVs can even turn off when their owners fall asleep.
• Saving money. Less energy consumption means lower utility bills. Some smart home appliances can also save their busy owners from having to hire additional human personnel to help with the household. There are many automated kitchen appliances, sprinkler controllers, robotic vacuum cleaners, pool cleaners, and lawnmowers. You pay for them once, while the continuous service of human help may cost more in the long run. Finally, if your home has some smart technologies installed, it will sell at a better price if you decide to move.
• Security. Smart surveillance devices can allow the homeowner to keep an eye on their house when they are out or away on vacation. Smart locks, motion controls, and cameras improve the home’s security and detect potential intruders. Remote controls enable the owner to answer any unwanted guests via the entrance door intercom while they are away.
• Personalization. There are no ultimate household solutions. Smart home technologies adapt to their owners’ needs, habits and routines. They are easily customized. They can track individual health, sleep, and motion patterns. They can be programmed to follow anyone’s schedule. Finally, smart technologies may change their activities along with one’s change of lifestyle. They are very flexible.
• Hacking. All the devices controlled via the Internet can potentially be hacked. Malicious activities may endanger the home’s safety. Intruders can get access to your in-and-out schedule, disable your security system and burgle the house. Since smart technologies are still developing, and the art of hacking constantly evolves, it is hard to say whether they can protect their owners better than traditional security systems.
• Price. Despite their ultimate energy-saving potential, many smart home technologies are quite pricey. Not everyone can afford them. Making a fully smart home is practicality available only to the more affluent population demographic.
• Complicated navigation. Although some of the smart technologies are simple and have intuitive navigation interfaces, others function in a quite complicated way. You may have to be tech-savvy to cope with the instructions.
• Lack of inter-device communication. There are many companies involved in smart home appliance production. Their devices do not necessarily communicate with each other. Though many people would prefer programming all their smart technologies with one remote control, they may need to use several different apps separately for each device. In this case, convenience is not that obvious.
• Misuse by the manufacturers. Another possible drawback is that the companies which produce such technologies may secretly collect information about your habits and preferences. They may use this for marketing purposes. Targeting clients this way will be much more efficient since the advertised products will be based on individual inclinations.
For Further Reading
Resources for further research into Smart Homes include:
• “How Smart Homes Work” (https://www.constructionspecifier.com/wrb/).
• “The Easy Way to Create a Smart Home” (https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/02/realestate/the-easy-way-to-create-a-smart-home.html)
• Smart Home Technology – Wikipedia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smart_home_technology)