Smart Home, Dumb Problems!

Categories: Apartment Amenities, Apartment Living

Common Smart Home Problems

(And How To Fix ‘Em)

Smart home technologies are growing more and more each day. We have smart door locks, video doorbells, smart lights, smart thermostats, and maybe an Amazon Echo or 2. Soon, it’ll be nearly impossible to find a place to rent or buy that doesn’t include some form of smart home products. On paper, this sounds great! We’re one step closer to the Jetsons! However, this tech is still fairly new and is being developed and refined. Basically, it ain’t perfect. Until it truly evolves, you’re probably going to be dealing with some mundane issues that can sully your experience with your smart home. So we’ve made a list of some dumb problems for smart homes and what to do about it.

1. Compatibility

We’re still in the development and refining stage when it comes to smart home tech. It’s still pretty new and companies all over are trying to figure it out. This leads to one of the biggest issues: compatibility. Having all smart items working together in tandem is the dream, but with so many companies developing so many things, devices you buy may not all work together. This limits your options and is a pretty big issue for consumers.

To combat this, you can buy all your smart home devices from one platform, preferably one that has a smart home hub like Alexa or Google Assistant to connect and control all of your devices. Again, you have to make sure what your buying is compatible with your hub. Other than that the only other option is to wait until a standard is formed when the technology is finally refined. (But that’s no fun!)

2. Can’t Connect To Network

This is probably the most common problem most people will face. To have all of your smart devices working together, they’ll have to maintain a network connection. It’s important because smart tech can malfunction or stop working entirely without internet connection. If you already have a hard enough time just getting your basic devices like computers or game consoles to maintain a good connection with your wi-fi, you can bet the smart tech will suffer.

There are only a few solutions and they all require shelling out a little more money. Most of these problems are a question of if your internet can support all of your connected devices. If you haven’t updated your router for a year or more you definitely should upgrade. A recent router will give off a stronger signal and will perform better than an older one. You could also upgrade to a higher speed internet service. Finally, buying only the latest smart home devices will almost guarantee better connectivity than older devices.

3. Privacy

A smart home is basically a giant connected computer. Everything is connected to the wifi. And unfortunately, computers can be hacked. You run the same risk with anything connected to the internet: computer, phone, and now your house. Big companies are definitely working on ways to make smart home tech more secure, but there’s nothing 100% safe. Companies can access data about you and now your house and there are hackers who can digitally break-in. This seems scary but there are ways to deal with this.

There are a myriad of ways to prevent your smart home from being hacked. To help with this, only buy smart home products and services from trusted sources and companies that take privacy seriously. Unfortunately, you may have to read through some terms and agreements to determine how strong companies’ privacy policies are. Don’t forget to continue to use basic security precautions like having very strong passwords to devices and wifi, using secure networks, buying a VPN, etc.

4. Surprise Activation

This issue is more in the realm of an annoyance than malfunction. Voice controls are awesome and save you from having to fumble with your phone to control everything, but sometimes these devices will randomly go off. This is usually the result of a “wake word” or something that sounds like a wake word is said in conversation or on the TV. We’ve all heard our iPhone randomly activate even though no one said anything close to “Siri”…

Most of these voice controlled devices allow you to change the wake word. Setting it to something less common will help ensure your device will only activate when you want it to.

5. Batteries

The most inconvenient of wireless limitations, batteries are required for ALL of your smart home devices. Having to buy and replace batteries can add up. This is the price we must pay to have remotely controlled tech. Some things go through batteries faster than others. Things like security cameras can really drain batteries quickly and this can be a problem.

This ties in with connectivity again. Having a strong wifi signal is imperative in keeping battery life long. Just like your phone, when a smart device has to roam for signals, it takes a toll on the batteries. If your router gives off a strong signal and is not obstructed by other devices or walls, you will get the most mileage out of your batteries. Also, try rechargeable batteries if the devices don’t have them already. It saves a lot of effort and money!

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