With smart home technologies constantly growing in popularity, there are several things consumers should understand about these devices in regards to features and long-term benefits, as well as potential issues or privacy risks.
To find out which aspects of this developing technology people should be more aware of, I asked a panel of entrepreneurs from YEC the following question:
What is the most important thing consumers should know about smart home technologies? Why is it so important?
Here’s what they said:
1. There are some security issues
The smart home devices will obviously be working based on the information about you and your home, which means that they will collect a lot of highly sensitive personal data. The information like your movement, the location of objects in the house, your credit card details — all of this can be stolen and used against you. – Solomon Thimothy, OneIMS
2. Make sure to read the fine print
It’s really important the consumers actually read all the terms and conditions of these tools so that they can be aware of the privacy terms that they are agreeing to. Just because a service is free doesn’t mean you want to invite it into your home. Always read the fine print. – Nicole Munoz, Nicole Munoz Consulting
3. You can discover patterns so you can save more
Smart Home features that are largely overlooked are the benefits of the data collected by them. Just as Apple released a feature that shows you how much screen time you are using, so does your Smart Home with regard to energy use. Whether you are looking to save money on certain bills or you are environmentally savvy, this data can show you where to make changes to your patterns and save. – Matthew Capala, Alphametic
4. Use could influence how you act
I’m not going to say something as outrageous as “smart devices make you dumber,” but it’s true that they can have an effect on the way you think and act. The seamless way smart assistant users can compartmentalize reminders can change what things they remember and how, and the flippant way we speak to them can affect our manners and social etiquette. Consider these effects before using them. – Bryce Welker, Crush The CPA Exam
5. The tech is cost-effective in the long run
The cost of installation and integration of various smart home technologies is high, but it results in savings in the long run. The smart devices can be programmed to turn off at a specific time when no one is going to be home. AI would automatically shut down the devices when not in use without manual intervention. It is a long-term investment and we’re just scratching the surface of its true potential. – Rahul Varshneya, Benchpoint
6. You need to have a backup plan
Smart technology is great and useful, but sometimes the Wi-Fi goes down, the battery life dies or the apps just fail. If this happens, make sure that the old school way of doing things still works. For example, if you have a smart keyless entry system for your house, still carry your keys on you as a backup plan in case the system fails. – Syed Balkhi, WPBeginner
7. Smart homes can save you money
You can save a lot of money with a smart home. Include in your smart home lightbulbs, thermostats, outlets, coffee pots, locks, security cameras, blinds and more, and watch your monthly bills go down. That will free up cash for the more important financial matters in your life. – Andrew Schrage, Money Crashers Personal Finance
8. Check on device security
Consumers are worried that smart devices share data with companies, but they should be more worried about the security of the devices themselves. Lax security results in millions of hacked devices, particularly smart home cameras, being used in DDoS attacks and other criminal activities. Consumers should understand the risk and avoid putting cheap unprotected devices on their home networks. – Justin Blanchard, ServerMania
9. They offer affordable luxury
Smart homes will bring a new level of extremely affordable luxury and comfort to a wide range of homes. It’s going to be a significant market and represents a new paradigm of interaction with technology. – Ryan D Matzner, Fueled
10. Systems make buying things easier
Many of the smart home products will keep track of your demands and purchases. The technology organizes and assimilates the data to market products you may enjoy. For some, this can be very helpful and ease the burden of shopping. However, their powerful marketing tools can lead to more purchases than intended and hinder your ability to reduce spending on goods. – Matthew Podolsky, Florida Law Advisers, P.A.
11. The tech’s not perfect — yet
It’s easy to forget smart home technology is relatively new. Products like Amazon Echo only came into being five years ago, so we are at the early stage of smart home technology. You only need to go online and find stories of where it goes wrong. So, embrace it, but give it time to mature. – Ismael Wrixen, FE International
This post is part of our contributor series. The views expressed are the author's own and not necessarily shared by TNW.
Published April 19, 2019 — 09:00 UTC