Smart Home Pitfalls

I love all things tech and for most of my life have been an early adapter. I'm in my third iteration of "smart home" devices. 

We're now to the sweet spot of phone apps, smart switches, lights, appliances and environment control enabled via home network and "the cloud" when away from home.

When things go well, it's very satisfying. The capabilities we enjoy now at an affordable price point are astonishing.

But the technology "stack" remains a Jengo-like assembly of pieces wherein if you make a change in one thing, or something unexpected happens, you'll find yourself in reconfiguration hell.

Things to be aware of:

  • Router/wi-fi replacement and/or SSID changes – your devices won't be happy.
  • Controller App upgrades – if your devices (lighting) begin mis-behaving, you may have to delete and re-associate them with the app.
  • Internet outages – your wonderful array of Internet of Things suddenly becomes annoyingly dumb and you must go back to flipping switches (and enduring the startup flashing of lights and other behaviors) in order to operate your lights.

I'm still getting used to my smart refrigerator and smart range. I appreciate being able to tell via my phone app if the fridge door is open or gosh-forbid I left the oven on. Has someone invented a smart iron yet? That's the other appliance that caused inconvenient returns home when my mother couldn't remember if she unplugged it/turned it off!

I have had zero glitches with the Nest Thermostat. That is one handy piece of technology that is well behaved.

Blink cameras are super — I only wish I could more easily view them via my Mac (there is a Chrome extension that supposedly enables it, but it requires more work to configure than I'm willing to take on at the moment).

A little annoyed by the entertainment stack — SONOS, please make your stuff work better with Apple. Amazon Alexa, same for you.

Now if I could only program my spouse to understand all of this and what to do when I'm not around and there's a glitch!

3 thoughts on “Smart Home Pitfalls”

  1. Thanks for posting this. I

    Thanks for posting this. I share your frustrations with technology and also its benefits.

    I believe I found a smart iron for your mother

    I don't have one, but it claims to power down if left in these positions:

    • * vertical- 8 minutes
    • * Flat- 30 seconds
    • * side- 30 seconds

    Based on the need you suggested, I was starting to work on a solution using a smart plug with a timer that detected power usage, but this seems a much better solution.

  2. Since you have created Alexa

    Since you have created Alexa Routines, maybe you could create one for your mother that controls a smart plug that he iron is plugged into.

    You can now have several different voice commands that perform the same action if she has trouble remembering commands or you could add a button.

    The Routine could also speak to her confirming what it will be doing for her.