You’ve finally caved and gotten yourself a Nest thermostat. Welcome to the Internet of Things. Are you ready for it?
Even if the only “Thing” you’ve installed to-date is that thermostat or the aging Bluetooth system in your car – you’re already well on your way to a smart home. Trust us. So, here’s everything you need to know about the Internet of Things for homeowners, upfront– to save you the time and headache of unguided Internet research.
1. For Most Homeowners, Tech Support is a Deal Breaker.
Think of your recent purchase, the Nest thermostat. You did all the product research, asked all the right questions, and had everything installed, correctly and all of sudden, the thermostat stops. What now? Who do you call? The retailer, the manufacturer? How do you even know that the thermostat is at fault when your wireless network, home automation hub, or even furnace could be to blame? There’s truly no telling from your side of Things.
That’s the catch. The Internet of Things is incredibly easy-to-use, yes. However, the usability comes at the cost of shielding us, the consumer, from technological complexities of the backend. While your smart device empowers you to customize and automate your life in ways you never dreamed of even five years ago, it also has the disempowering effect of evading do-it-yourselfers.
These devices are so self-sufficient, we can’t fix them ourselves. Unlike leaky faucets and loose panels — when “Things” go wrong, the cause of the problem isn’t self-evident. You’ll need to consult a professional. Unfortunately, very few manufacturers and retailers provide 24/7 tech support and even less offer on-site availability. What’s the solution? While shopping for a smart device, shop around for a third-party tech support provider to help you through the purchase decision, installation, setup, and preventative maintenance of your smart home.
2. Wi-Fi Isn’t the Only Form of Wireless Internet.
You know what Wi-Fi is, sure, but have you ever heard of ZigBee or Z-Wave or Bluetooth? All these names refer to are different types of Internet protocol – or, different methods of connecting and communicating with the Internet. Not only do all of your Things represent a variety of brands, but equipment comes with its own, unique setup and configuration requirements. In fact, your Nest thermostat runs off a proprietary Internet protocol called ‘Weave.’
Yikes, right? All you wanted was a smart thermostat to help save you money on utilities – but now you’re thinking about Kwikset door locks and automated lighting fixtures.
The good news is that you don’t need to understand how all the different protocols work to make purchase decisions– all you need to know is that as you rack up smart products, you’re likely to install a variety of wireless adapters. As such, your Things might get a little messy because you’ll want to synchronize them – but first, you much get them all speaking the same language.
You’ll hear stories of early Internet of Things adopters having to create makeshift utility closet within their homes. That’s the second secret cost of the Internet of Things: your smart home may looks sleek and clean and runs efficiently, but behind closed doors, you’ve got a closet full of wires.
What’s the solution, here? Enlist the help of an IT professional to help you map out your product wish-list. They’ll know exactly how help to your equipment as clean and organized on the back end as on the front.
Plus, you want to be able to maintain the whole rigmarole yourself, right? Ask a third-party provider to help educate you – throughout the process of setting up your smart home. That being said, if you’d like to learn more, in detail, about the different Internet protocols, check out our blog post here.