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More and more families across the world are adopting smart home technology into their homes and daily routines.
In my opinion, a smart home has many advantages and few disadvantages. But, every family is different.
Pros & Cons of Smart Home Technology
Smart devices add a lot of value to my daily routine and really help me be more efficient. For that reason, I do believe smart home technology is worth it.
But technology moves fast, and keeping up with the latest and greatest can be a struggle. Plus, the initial costs and internet reliance makes smart homes unfeasible for some.
There’s no perfect answer — it’s up to you to weigh the pros and cons and decide what’ll work best for your family.
|Advantages of a Smart Home||Disadvantages of a Smart Home|
|It offers remote & hands-free control||It can be tough to adapt|
|It makes your home more energy-efficient||It can get expensive|
|It adds convenience to your routine||You can run into compatibility issues|
|It can make your home more secure||It can make your home less secure|
|It can increase your home’s value||Companies can fail|
Advantages of a Smart Home
Most smart home devices connect to the internet, either directly or through a hub. This means you can access those devices from anywhere you have an internet connection.
Here are some examples of how remote control can make your life easier:
- You just got to work but forgot to turn off a few lights around the house. Turn them off with your smart bulb or switch app.
- Someone is at your door, but you aren’t home. See and speak to the visitor through your smart doorbell’s app.
- You normally lower the heat when you go to work, but you forgot today. Smart thermostats allow you to control the temperature from anywhere.
We could probably fill a book of examples, but these three cases give you an idea of the possibilities.
Energy Saving & Monitoring
From energy monitoring to lowering the temperature of your home while you’re away, smart home devices help you keep track of how much energy you’re actually using.
Smart plugs can give you energy consumption reports, and some even have controls that automatically turn a socket off when a device has consumed a certain amount of energy.
Smart thermostats can learn your schedule and heating and cooling preferences, then automatically adjust to keep your home running as efficiently as possible.
Smart homes can be as complex or simple as you choose. There really is no “one-size-fits-all” solution. Whether you want to take advantage of one device or twenty is completely up to you.
Home automation is adaptable depending on:
- Whether you rent or own your home
- How much of your home you want to automate
- How much you want to spend
Pick one, pick two, pick them all! You have options in each category and they’re all useful in their own way.
Smart home technology allows your home to run more efficiently and work better for you. It is up to you to find the devices that will improve your life and add value to your home.
You can always be home to greet your visitors with a smart video doorbell. You can have your door automatically unlock when you arrive home from work. You can even use your voice to turn on lights or start a pot of coffee.
There is an added level of safety that comes with smart devices. Door, window, and motion sensors alert you when movement is detected in your home, and depending on what you have connected, could even send a livestream to your phone.
There are even smart smoke detectors and CO2 sensors. These work similarly to their “dumb” counterparts, but with the bonus of sending a notification to your phone when smoke or CO2 is detected in your home.
Google Nest’s smart smoke detector will even tell you exactly where the problem is through built-in speakers.
(Alarm Sound) “Emergency. There’s carbon monoxide in the (room name). Move to fresh air.”
-Google Nest Protect warning message
Video doorbells and smart security cameras also add a layer of protection. They allow you to see anyone in or around your home from anywhere and can record whenever they sense motion.
Voice Commands & Routines
Another benefit of smart home technology is hands-free control and setting routines. A routine is an action that sets off other actions within your connected home.
You can set up routines to trigger:
- When you say a certain phrase
- At a certain time of the day
- On designated days
These routines can include anything from turning smart devices on and off to getting news briefs or weather reports.
For example, my morning routine is triggered by the phrase “Alexa, good morning.” That command turns on my lights, tells me the weather, goes through the news brief, and starts a pot of coffee.
Check out this video of a completely hands-free home, controlled by voice commands and Alexa Routines.
There are many smart devices you can control using just your voice, making smart home technology a wonderful tool for the differently-abled.
Here are just a few of the ways smart tech can make life at home more accessible:
- Smart switches and bulbs let you turn lights on or off without flipping a switch.
- Smart video doorbells let you see and talk to anyone at the door from your phone.
- Smart assistants can help you make phone calls or send text messages when you aren’t near the phone.
Whether you have limited mobility or want to make life easier for an older relative, smart home technology can make doing things around the house much simpler.
It Can Increase Your Home’s Value
Smart technology and devices can also increase your home’s value. If you plan to sell anytime soon, those permanent smart fixtures will attract more buyers and may even shorten the time it takes to sell your home.
In addition, many insurance companies are willing to offer policy discounts for homes with certain smart devices. Some of the smart devices that may quality include:
Disadvantages of a Smart Home
Perhaps the biggest disadvantage of smart technology is the price. While the initial costs of individual products usually aren’t too bad, continually adding more products can get expensive fast.
Installing smart cameras, sensors, and lights is pretty simple, and you can usually do it on your own. But when you get into big-ticket items like smart thermostats and kitchen appliances, which may require professional installation, the costs begin to add up.
Before you add any smart device to your home, big or small, weigh the cost-saving benefits vs. your total investment to ensure you’re making the right decision.
If you want a fully-automated home, you’ll need to make sure each device you purchase is compatible with what you already own.
Let’s say you prefer Google Assistant over Amazon Alexa. Both devices work similarly, so you don’t see any issue choosing one over the other.
While there’s nothing wrong with using incompatible devices across your smart home, it complicates the process. If you’re choosing a smart home because of convenience, you’ll need to do your research and find the right products.
Smart home technology is a bit of a double-edged sword when it comes to security. While it does make our homes more secure in many ways, it can also make it less secure in others.
It goes without saying that connecting anything to Wi-Fi comes with some sort of security risk, and while it’s usually low, there’s always the potential for your tech to get hacked.
Is Alexa recording what you say? Can someone hack your Ring account and watch you in your home? As long as you take the right steps to secure your accounts and use a strong password, you probably have nothing to worry about.
But, the risk alone is enough to turn some people off of smart technology.
Companies Can Fail
The worst thing that can happen with your smart device is that the company that makes it goes out of business. While it’s rare, it does happen from time to time. If they take their servers down, your product basically becomes unusable.
Technology moves fast, and some companies just aren’t built for the competition. Try to go with reputable, tried-and-true brands whenever you can to minimize the risk.
Adapting Smart Tech into Your Daily Routine
Adapting to anything new takes a little time.
If you’re a tech-savvy person, you should catch on pretty quickly. But it might not be the best idea to introduce your grandmother, who still uses a rotary phone, to the Echo Dot, Ring, Philips Hue smart bulbs, and an ecobee thermostat all at the same time.
It takes a little time to adjust, but it does get easier for users to control their smart homes with time and practice. Once you form that habit, it’s hard to imagine life without smart technology!