The 21st century brought us great new technology that directly impacts our quality of life. Smart homes are still quite a new concept, but the smart home market has been experiencing tremendous growth. It started with virtual assistants (like Alexa or Google Home), with some people taking it further by upgrading their houses into smart homes.
Smart homes are awesome, but they do come with drawbacks. The tech is not as refined as we would like it to be, and issues still occur.
So, let’s talk about the downsides of smart homes you should consider, as well as how to prevent and fix some of them.
1. High budget requirements
If you decide to upgrade your home with smart technology, the very first thing you will notice is the price. The initial investment may be the biggest one you’ll make, but don’t forget about maintenance.
A large number of smart house owners often underestimate the budget requirements, thinking that all they’ll have to pay for is the setup. Unfortunately, even smart things break and need replacement. And that’s not cheap.
So, before you decide on the whole smart house package, do some research and find out how much it takes to maintain it.
2. A stable internet connection is a must!
All the smart devices in your home will need a connection to the internet to do their job. The ability to connect to the internet is awesome since you can automate things like shopping or house cleaning.
However, if that internet connection breaks down (for whatever reason), some devices will probably stop working or even malfunction. What’s worse, even when the network stabilizes, you’ll have to manually set up some of your devices.
Having your Roomba stop for an hour or two is no biggie, but having that happen to your fridge or surveillance system is not that fun.
3. Cybersecurity risks
Smart homes relying on a stable internet connection bring another liability – malware and cyberattacks. Hackers can get into your smart home ecosystem through your router, but the “infection” can come from virtually anywhere. If you have a working computer in your home, your smart house may be at risk.
There are various measures you can take to prevent a cybersecurity disaster. Keep in mind that most smart devices come with some sort of malware protection. But, hackers are getting more and more innovative, so taking precautions is strongly advised. Here’s where to start:
- Regularly update your devices – usually, each update patches up a few security flaws.
- Encrypt your WiFi – Use WPA2 (or WPA3 if available) encryption on your router, since it’s the entry point for malware.
- Protect your data – Your smart home can get infected via your phone or computer. Storing your data in an encrypted cloud can minimize these risks.
- Use common sense – try not to go to any shady website or open suspicious links.
4. A steep learning curve
Smart homes solve a lot of issues, especially for busy people. But, learning how to set up the smart house to fit your personal needs – well, that will take some time. The more devices and appliances you have connected, the harder the initial setup will be.
Additionally, more refined and polished smart home systems do exist. They require less learning, but the price ramps up pretty quickly.
The decision is up to you. If you have the time to learn the ins and outs of your smart home, great. If not – you should either opt for a more automated system or start your journey small. You can always add more devices once you master the ones you already have.
5. Device compatibility
If you want to explore your smart home in its entirety, you will probably have to stay within the same device ecosystem. No matter which brand you stick with, the full set of features is only available if you don’t stray from it.
But not all manufacturers cover all gadgets, devices, and appliances. So, it’s natural that you’ll get to a point where you have to try out other brands. This is where device miscommunication can happen.
Your best bet is to read experiences from users that tried out the combination you intend to use.
Smart houses are awesome, but…
This article is not meant to scare you away from getting a smart home package. Instead, all we’d like to emphasize is that this type of tech is fairly new and that it may not be a smooth ride like buying a sofa. At least not at first.
Talking about the downsides of smart homes should help us out while we wait for the tech to evolve past these small yet potentially dangerous issues.
To summarize – smart homes are awesome, but be prepared for some learning and some frustrating situations.