As technology becomes more and more intimately integrated with our everyday lives, our homes become smarter and smarter. It may have started with humble robot vacuum cleaners, but it didn't stop there. However, as cyber threats become more and more prominent, it begs the question: what smart home technology is really worth investing in, and what is an unnecessary risk?
Plugs and Tech Protection
While it may not be the first thing you think of, upgrading your plugs with USB charging, smart technologies, and even a whole house surge protector might be the best first step. If you live in an older home, just finding places to safely plug in all your devices can be a real hassle. If you start by upgrading your home's outlets and purge protection systems, you'll have a strong foundation to build on.
Entertainment may seem like a frivolous place to start, but it's actually a great place to get started because it's relatively low risk and there's a lot of overlap with other smart home devices. A streaming device and centralized remote control system is a handy thing that can get you and your family familiar with smart home technology without putting too much dangerous information and access. Smart speakers often also double as homes for our digital assistants.
Most people already have access to a basic digital assistant in their phone, and many have since made the jump to a house-wide digital assistant that is connected to a smart speaker. They can be incredibly useful for busy people who need help keeping their lives organized. However, there are security and privacy concerns, and anyone thinking of getting a digital assistant should also be well-versed in the dangers and how best to guard against them.
Speaking of security concerns, a lot of smart home technologies focus on home security, from interior and exterior security cameras to smarter alarm systems and even smart locks on the front door. There's a lot to be said for the peace of mind that comes with being able to actually look at your house and see that it's all safe and secure, even from miles away. That said, this is another area where it's wise for buyers to exercise extreme caution. If you're essentially streaming video of your home to your phone, who can get permission to see that video?
Security isn't just about the physical security of your home, it's also about your personal health and happiness. The smart technology of a digital assistant can be combined with entertainment in various smart fitness devices, from the humble step tracker to a fully smart home gym. Obviously, health information is very personal, but it's also relatively low risk.
In addition to your physical health and fitness, there's a lot of smart environmental technology available for homes. That may mean tweaking the heating and cooling in your house to be more sensitive and save both money and energy by being more efficient, but it can get more creative. For example, smart lightbulbs can help with everything from insomnia to seasonal affective disorder by changing the color of your lights and determining when to turn them on or off.
Last but not least, we return to the humble robot vacuum cleaner. The days of a humble robotic vacuum cleaner trundling blindly around your wall-to-wall carpeted apartment have evolved. Now there are robot cleaners that can be programmed and mapped onto your whole house.
From the humble trundling robot vacuum cleaner to the sophisticated digital assistants that manage our busy calendars, technology has gotten smarter and more tied into our lives. While strictly speaking, none of it is really essential to survival, it does make our lives easier, and in some cases, it even makes our lives safer. As long as you exercise your common sense and take reasonable precautions, there's a lot of potential benefit in turning your home into a smart home.