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The Federal Trade Commission Offers Tips For Navigating Smart Home Tech

The Federal Trade Commission Offers Tips For Navigating Smart Home Tech
July 15, 2016 SNH Editorial Team
Crestron Smart Home Touch Pad

Smart technology makes it possible to connect devices — from pet feeders to home surveillance systems — to the Internet and control them from nearly anywhere. The technology is evolving rapidly, promising even greater convenience, security, and comfort in the future.

But the pace at which the technology is changing can pose possible pitfalls. For example, consumers who paid $299 for a “Smart Home Hub” that Revolv began selling in 2013 to operate locks, sound systems, and other devices learned in February that Nest Labs, which bought Revolv, was stopping its support for the device, making it useless.

Nest offered full refunds to Hub owners but the incident is a reminder to ask questions when you shop for smart devices. Learn how a device works and what support the manufacturer will provide. Pay close attention to the product’s security features because an online security breach involving one device could expose your entire home network.

Here are more tips to help you smarten your home:

  • Find out if the product will work with connected devices you already have, and with other companies’ devices.
  • Ask how you’ll get security and other product updates.
  • Take time during your initial setup to familiarize yourself with any dashboards and widgets that you’ll use to control the device remotely.
  • Don’t just accept out-of-the-box default settings. Turn on secure features and re-evaluate only after you’re familiar with the device.
  • Consider if you’ll be able to keep using the device if the manufacturer stops providing updates and other support.

These concerns are reasons why it’s important to engage with a reputable integrator when venturing into the smart home automation space. If you are an early adopter and comfortable with technology, then dive right in. But if you have hesitations, don’t let that hold you back. Reach out to a home automation implementation specialist like members of the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association (CEDIA) for help.