How Smart Is It to Have a Smart Home?

Whether it is for security reasons or convenience, having a smart home seems to be the ultimate goal for modern households. From wireless vacuum robots that navigate row-by-row and room-by-room cleaning throughout your place, to cameras that throw treats to your dog when you are away from home, smart technology is either facilitating our lives and giving us extra time to do other things or making us lazy. The truth is that this type of technology has its pros and cons and it is up to us to decide how smart it is to have a smart home. 

Within the advantages of smart home technology, undoubtedly we find convenience in the first place. Just with a push of a button and one device (smartphone, iPad, tablets) we can completely change the temperature of a room, turn on or off the lights, preheat an oven, turn on the washing machine, TV, and music.

Safety is also one of the pros. We can advanced home security by simply installing cameras with motion sensors that can be monitored remotely allowing us to interact with anyone trespassing on our property. According to Encompass Agency, homeowners can receive incentives from their home insurance company if they use smart devices. 

Smart features can also increase home value. The National Association of Realtors revealed that “44 percent of millennial buyers say they’re willing to pay an extra $3,000 or more for a home with smart features.”

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While more and more people are inclined towards smart technology, the number of disadvantages also increase. Although the initial investment is a necessary step to switch from regular home technology to smart home technology, financially stable households are most likely to spend thousands of dollars in devices. After investing in technology homeowners can expect power surges; Therefore, the Insurance Information Institute recommends always installing surge protection devices (SPDs) to “filter and dissipate damaging electrical discharges” and avoid damage to your smart appliances and your home electronics, plus your electrical system. 

Security vulnerabilities are also a big concern especially with voice-assisted devices like the Amazon Alexa, recently accused of spying and transcribing sensitive conversations without previous authorization. Other consumers have also revealed how their gadgets have been hacked. In December 2019, a Mississippi family complained and shared a video of a hacker taunting an 8-year-old daughter through a Ring camera set up in her bedroom. Similar incidents have occurred across the United States and according to Today, the company started an investigation. “While we are still investigating this issue and are taking appropriate steps to protect our devices based on our investigation, we are able to confirm this incident is in no way related to a breach or compromise of Ring’s security,” said a company’s executive to NBC affiliate WMC.

Although data breaches might still occur and hackers might be able to access your personal space, smart home demand will keep growing. It is up to us the consumers to always stay alert and never forget that robots and gadgets are manmade and can never outsmart us.