Is Smart Technology Reliable?


Smart home technology exists to make our lives easier, and it claims that it can be our partner in any situation, from the everyday mundane activities to the scary emergencies. While I do have a background in technology that makes it easy for me to troubleshoot issues, this isn’t true for the mass market that home technology appeals to. Here are a few concerns I have about smart technology in general.

Can we even get it set up?

You see a lot of reviews from frustrated customers who just couldn’t even get through the setup process for a smart home device. Most of the time, these are people that are super excited about a new tech product, and even have a decent knowledge of technology. If they can’t figure out the setup, how can someone with less experience than them? Some setups are a very manual process, which requires a lot of time and patience – but at least you can follow steps and retrace if necessary. When the process is more automated, there might be an issue on the product end that you can’t possibly know about or even fix yourself. Either way, if we can’t get past the setup, then the entire experience is doomed.

Is it going to work when we need it to?

Since smart home technology is all about being connected, you have to, you know, be connected. If there is an isolated emergency in your home, but there is a network outage, your smart home isn’t going to be able to help you. If you are using something like a smart switch, which allows you to remotely control devices (never leave the curling iron – or whatever females use for their hair – on again!), but it constantly disconnects from the network, then it is useless. Even worse, you may have to start the setup process all over again each time. Another issues with your devices is that one might get a software update and completely break the connection it has with another device. IFTT rules can get really complicated and can be a huge pain to reset. You may not even be able to reconnect your devices until the second device pushes a software update – and when that happens, it might break a completely different connection.

If we have someone monitoring and installing – are they reliable?

Say that you don’t want to deal with installation and monitoring yourself at all, so you hire someone to do it. OK, I can see how this could improve your experience with smart home technology; when something breaks or won’t work, you just call the company and they’ll take care of any problems. What happens when the service has restrictions, though, like not coming on nights or weekends? What if they do that obnoxious thing where you get a 5-hour window for their service? What if they can’t actually find the problem? All of these things mean that your smart home downtime increases.

What do you think: is smart home technology reliable? What experiences, good or bad, have you had with certain products? Let me know in the comments.

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Jeff is a tinkerer. He loves gadgets, but usually waits until the reviews are out before buying something. He loves the DIY projects, and loves help setting things up too. Some of his favorite products and services may not be the most well known, but he loves his custom solution.