The 'Internet of Things' for homes
Advances in technology are making homes smarter. But what does the Internet of Things mean for homes and home security?
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Advances in technology are making homes smarter. Home automation is a way to make life easier if you're concerned about security. For many, access to "The Jetsons" lifestyle is exciting and now affordable.
The Internet of Things (IoT) makes it possible to send data and commands between devices. Many home tasks are now controlled with a tap and a swipe. But is this automation always beneficial for you and your family?
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things is not a new concept. Yet there was an explosion of wearable tech featured at CES and smart home appliances at KBIS 2014.
Here are some examples of IoT and home automation already in use:
- Home security systems you can access via a desktop, smartphone or tablet.
- Controlling your HVAC system while on the go or on vacation. The Nest Learning Thermostat is one such product, which Google acquired.
- Monitoring home water usage for better efficiency.
Pros and cons of the IoT
The Internet of Things has changed many factors of daily life. It is important to understand that all advances in technology have advantages and disadvantages. Review every angle before you decide if using this type of technology will have a positive impact on your life.
A clear pro of IoT is the automatic collection and transfer of data from appliances, vehicles or any other object. It allows you to track and analyze your energy use. You can use this info to determine how to make changes in energy consumption for greater efficiency and to lower costs.
As IoT is further developed, the possibilities for home automation are endless. Each room of your home will be smart in some way. You can access the info to make remote adjustments so you can keep your home safe and comfortable.
A major disadvantage of home automation is the transfer of data, resulting in less privacy. Your data is permanently stored online in a cloud setting. Be sure to ask how or if the company is using your data in any way, and if they share it with other companies.
Yet, kinks exist. Inquire to your home security provider or automation maker about how secure your setup is against hackers.
For instance, imagine a hacker controlling your lights, garage door or hot tub. Such a scenario would affect both your home's security, privacy and electric bills.
Over-reliance on technology can also be a disadvantage. If you use automated home security regularly, you may be unprepared when an emergency hits. Be proactive and ask your home security provider how to react in such situations so you can avoid this con.
The future of smart homes
The IoT has led to the development of smart homes. Smart homes offer a high level of security, but protection is only one of the many features available.
Here's a list of features to understand how automation can make life at home more comfortable.
- Automation is compatible with mobile devices. You are able to control everything from the security system to the lights from anywhere.
- Some audio systems include automated systems.
- Climate control options allow for timed heating and cooling to save energy and reduce utility bills. You can remotely change the temperature to ensure you return to a comfortable home.
- Control your home's lighting while on vacation to deter burglars. This feature can also reduce electricity costs in case you or a family member forgets to turn a light off.
- Lock your doors and turn on your security system whether you are in your home or staying out later than you thought.
- Stream surveillance footage in real-time so you can see exactly what's going on at home when you are away. For instance, you can check in on the new babysitter.
- Track your sleep patterns with smart sleeping pads.
- Automatically charge your smart devices on your kitchen countertop. You do not need to plugin or see a tangle of cords.
- Smart toothbrushes record how long you brush your teeth, areas you miss, and the like. In the future, this info will automatically sync with your dental records at your dentist's office.
- Also in the works are smart refrigerators. For instance, when your milk goes bad, you'll receive an alert.
Your home security options
Home automation offers comfort and security for families. One option is ADT's Pulse system, which is an affordable solution. ADT recently partnered with Ford's SYNC AppLink, so you can control your home via your car. You can also control your small appliances with ADT Pulse.
ADT customer support is available to answer questions through online chat or by phone.
No matter which service provider you choose, have your system installed by a professional. They walk you through the steps of using the various functions so you don't have to worry about missing something. Doing so will also give you a chance to ask any followup questions you may have about the above disadvantages.