Smart home devices offer unprecedented convenience and connectivity. However, with an ever-growing selection of smart home devices on the market, it can be tough to know where to start. Here are four factors to consider before you commit to building a network of smart home devices.
Bring on the bandwidth
Since all of your smart home devices will be connected to the Internet, they’ll be consuming a considerable amount of your bandwidth. Make sure your Internet infrastructure is capable of handling this deluge of data — before buying a full suite of smart home devices, upgrade to a high-quality router and opt for more bandwidth from your service provider. When you set up your new router, make sure it’s centrally located, so all of your devices can receive an unobstructed signal. If you have a larger home or the walls are obstructing the Wi-Fi signal, consider purchasing a range extender.
Although you don’t need to commit to one brand, compatibility can make a huge difference in the convenience of your smart home. Choose devices that run on the same platform, such as the Apple Home App or Google Nest. Also, consider how the platform lets you access your devices. For example, you can manage your Apple Home-compatible products with your iPhone and Siri voice commands. Alexa, on the other hand, offers in-vehicle integration. Ford, Toyota and Lexus are just a few of the automakers that offer Alexa integration, so you can control your devices on your daily commute.
Protect your privacy
Every time you use a smart home device, you’re giving away your consumer data. While most of this data seems innocuous, be aware that companies are using your data to paint a picture of you, based on everything from your Internet activity and thermostat settings to your grocery list and favorite podcasts. Most smart home devices do have privacy settings, but they’re disabled by default, so be sure to switch them on if you’d like an extra layer of protection. Smart home devices also give hackers an easy way to access your home network, potentially allowing them to intercept the data you send online or control your home devices. You can give your home an added layer of protection by purchasing a Virtual Private Network service.
Upfront costs and long-term savings
Electronics aren’t cheap — and many smart home devices can be expensive to purchase and install. For instance, smart home security systems have pricy installation costs, so be sure to read the fine print before committing to a product or service. However, other smart home devices can save you money in the long run. Of course, there are small savings, such as smart lights and smart thermostats that can help you shave down your utility bills. You can net bigger financial gains from other smart home products, including security systems, which can increase your home’s resale value and help you score a discount with some insurance providers. Some providers may even subsidize the costs of smart home devices, or even pay for them outright.
Smart home devices can make your home safer, more convenient and more efficient. Before you start investing in smart home products, see what reviewers, as well as your friends and family, have to say about specific products. A little research and insight can go a long way towards a stress-free smart home journey.