No longer in the clumsy early stages which affect every forward-thinking technology, modern smart homes are better and more streamlined than ever. Whether building a new home or looking to upgrade an existing one, smart homes can be well considered. While there isn’t one easy answer to the question of whether or not a smart home will be right for you, taking a look at the advantages and disadvantages can help narrow your choice down.
The primary and immediate advantage that comes from smart home technology is that of convenience. Smart home tech acts as a simple replacement for older manual parts of our homes in many regards. This doesn’t necessarily revolutionize anything, but the constant advantages can still add significant time savings.
There is no fumbling with keys when you enter your house, not having to wait for the air conditioner to heat up or cool down a room, not worry about light switches, and much more. All of these are little things, but they add up over time. This isn’t just true for physical time savings either, as small reductions in mental stacks can also give real if nebulously defined, advantages to mood.
Potential Energy Savings
It might seem that a system built on an increase in digital technology would increase power bills, but, more often than not, the opposite is true. By automating systems through smart-home technology, efficiency can see enormous gains, reducing waste.
Automated shut-offs alone can be worth their weight in gold for this reason. With these systems, users have reported savings of up to 25% on cooling bills and 50% off water bills. This effect can be increased even further if solar panels are included, which, in some cases, can earn you money from power placed back into the grid.
The final major advantages to consider come from the extreme possible level of customizability of smart home systems. In essence, as long as you have any interest in something related to technology, you could see enormous dividends.
For businesses, a properly managed smart-home network could give you more reliable connections anywhere in your home, mitigating the issue of lost data packets. No more lost data means fewer accidental mistakes and fewer ugly surprises or frustrated workmates.
In action, this could also help in more contemporary uses such as work meeting streams. Zoom has become a force for this communication tech recently, and a better equipped smart home could make this system even more effective. With this, workers could stream from any room in the home, aiding in convenience and efficiency. Browser connected work-systems like Word and Excel online could also see huge benefits in this regard.
The same can be said for entertainment, where the ability to transfer and scale media could dramatically increase an experience’s enjoyability. This effect would again be most pronounced with browser systems and games like online casino titles. Live and classic blackjack, for example, could be quickly streamed to different screens in a properly managed smart home. For more engaging gameplay and better comfort, this could be a fantastic addition.
Finally, more traditional video game experiences could also see an increase in convenience through smart tech. PCs and new systems like the PS5 now offer streaming options that effectively allow users to play one console from any screen in the house. No more lugging things around or having to deal with cable management.
Dependent on Tech Knowledge and Enthusiasm
Smart home systems have come a long way since their inception, but that doesn’t mean that they are perfect. Most of us know people who suffer from some form of technophobia or learned helplessness, and this can seem an insurmountable barrier to entry.
What needs to be understood for this issue is that overcoming the problem might be a matter of mass-acceptance like many other technical aspects. Many people originally wrote off smartphones as over-complicated, for example. With only 58% of people using these devices in 2012, they enjoy a penetration rate of 87% in the UK.
Similarly, smart home tech has seen consistent rises in popularity as the technology proves itself. In 2013, only 8% of UK homes employed these systems, while in 2019, this grew to 27%. Though smart home systems are more esoteric than smartphones, comparable patterns will likely hold.
Newer Technology Raises Questions of Security
The other major potential caveat for smart homes is that of home security. While incredibly safe for the average person, there are tech-savvy individuals out there testing their skills by finding leaks in smart home systems. This could be as benign as switching lights on and off until a password is changed at the lowest level. For more major concerns, there might be issues with doors being unlocked or personal data being stolen.
Predicting how much of a real issue this could be going forward is difficult. Smart-home tech put a lot of effort into safety, but as the systems become more widespread, they could attract more hacker attention. At this point, the cat and mouse game is dominated by smart-home security, but in another ten years, the relationship might be much more complicated.
Making your Choice
Some people and their homes might never see any appreciable advantages from moving to smart home setups. By the same coin, others could see enormous benefits in efficiency, financial savings, and entertainment opportunities by making the jump. Ultimately, the question is one of your wants, your needs, your budget, and your future. The one thing home-owners do need to know is that this tech isn’t a flash-in-the-pan, so whether you need it now or not, it’s still something to watch.