Imagine speaking to your lights and having them turn on automatically. Speak again and they change color. A few minutes later, your phone alerts you to someone approaching your front door. Bring up an app and see exactly who it is. Use your video doorbell’s on-board audio to talk to the visitor. Sound cool? It’s all made possible by modern home automation.
New home automation devices are hitting the market all the time. From new and improved smart speakers to intelligent switches that can more or less control anything in your home powered by electricity, there is something for everyone. However, that does not mean every investment in home automation constitutes a wise one. There are things you have to pay attention to. Three of them are below.
1. Device Compatibility
You can purchase home automation devices in one of two ways. The first is buying a package from a company like Vivint Smart Home and then build from there. Entry-level packages generally offer the basics at a reasonable cost. Your other option is to buy your own pieces as you go.
With the second option, you always have to be concerned about compatibility. Every piece you purchase in a packaged kit is compatible with every other piece. You should not have any issues setting them up. That may not be the case with piecemeal purchases. Devices from different manufacturers may not play well together.
One of your biggest concerns here is the smart home hub. If you cannot find a hub that all of your devices can communicate with, you will be left dealing with separate mobile apps for every device in your system. Such a setup is certainly workable, but it is also a hassle. It is far better to have a single hub through which you can control everything. A single hub also means a single app.
2. Backup Power
Modern home automation is largely wireless. You will not have to cut into the walls to wire components to your home’s electrical system. However, you will be plugging things into the wall. You will be adding switches to your light sockets. Your hub will control everything by connecting to your wi-fi router. All of these things run on electricity. What happens when the power goes out?
Fortunately, almost all wireless home security devices can also run on a backup battery. That battery may be included; you may have to purchase it separately. Either way, devices without battery backup will not work when the power goes out. Keep that in mind unless your home is supported by auxiliary backup power.
3. Network Security
Finally, network security is a concern whenever you are talking wireless technologies. You have likely heard stories of hackers messing with people over their wireless video cameras. Though these sorts of things are rare, they do occur. What can you do to avoid them?
First, purchase your home automation devices from a trusted manufacturer with a solid reputation and a history of providing regular software updates. Second, make sure all of your devices are kept updated. Finally, make use of basic network security practices like implementing encryption, routinely changing usernames and passwords, and the like.
Whatever you do, just remember that there is no such thing as 100% guaranteed security. You have to do the best you can and then be vigilant about assessing future risks as they present themselves.
The era of home automation is now here. Just about everything in the modern home can be made smart. If you are planning to join the revolution, be equally smart about the devices you choose to buy.