What is a smart home? That seemingly simple question has many different answers, depending on who you ask. In short, a “smart home” is a residence equipped with appliances and equipment automate tasks normally handled by humans. Some are built into the structure itself and some added later, and homeowners operate them with voice commands or by artificial intelligence.
For some home owners, turning a house into a smart home can be as simple as buying a connected speaker. For others, it can involve linking several different products, including speakers, cameras, computers, smartphones, televisions, security systems, appliances, and more; and creating a smart home hub.
PROS to a Smart Home
For many people, the driving force behind creating a smart home is the potential to save energy and money with automated heating and air conditioning systems. Smart thermostats, such as those made by Alphabet’s subsidiary Nest, quickly and precisely automate the heating and cooling of a home. This usually reduces the owners’ electric bill.
While you can buy alarm systems to protect your home, smart homes can offer added security. Connected lights, cameras, and even doorbells can help make a home that much safer. If you’re home alone and someone is checking out your house to see if they can break in, having these kinds of devices might scare them off.
If you want to take some of the tedious tasks of home care out of your hands, connected and automated devices have you covered there too. The most obvious device is the Roomba robot vacuum cleaner from iRobot, along with similar products. However, appliances can also come with smart home functions. Picture a laundry machine that automatically starts a wash cycle, or fridge that orders milk online when it senses that you’re low.
CONS to a Smart Home
With any type of smart appliance, hacking is a serious concern. Although safety measures are in place, they vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, and hackers are always looking for ways around them. You can protect yourself by using a secure internet connection, changing your passwords frequently and promptly installing updates.
Smart refrigerators are much more expensive than traditional ones, and they are more expensive to repair. There is also the risk of viruses. If you have linked your email and social media accounts to the smart refrigerator, they could be at risk.
Sometimes adjusting to smart appliances poses a challenge. If you aren’t tech savvy, you might find it confusing and overwhelming at first. The person who installs the smart appliances should thoroughly explain how they work, and you should be able to call tech support for help.