Buying a Smart Home Device

Evaluating a Smart Home Device

It’s that time of year again! The days are shorter, we change out the pumpkin lattes for peppermint, and holiday music fills the air (everywhere…whether you want it to or not).

Smart home devices are an increasingly popular holiday gift – but they’re not all created equal. Learn more about what to look for in a smart home device so it can be the gift that keeps giving.

  • Take it seriously.  If you’re in the market for products like lighting controls, smart locks, or thermostats, consider treating those like utilities and look for reputable, trusted brands. When it comes to buying a product that controls your power, safety, and temperature, stick with the brands that have been doing it for years. They’ll still have the cutting-edge technology that a gadget might offer -- but they can blend the cool factor with reliability so you don’t spend the holidays in the dark, cold, or worried about compromised cybersecurity.
  • Do your homework. It might seem tempting to just read user reviews on e-commerce sites, but more and more reviews are being faked (and faked well). Ask a trusted local retailer (like a hardware or electronics store) for feedback before making the purchase, or check out third party product review websites like www.wirecutter.com or www.cnet.com to compare. If social media is more your thing, reach out to an expert in the field to direct ask questions.
  • Think long term. Smart home products today are longer-term purchases; the device should have the ability to get “smarter” over time through software upgrades and extensions. A good device maker will make it more secure -- and more functional -- over time.
  • Understand the strings attached. Sometimes there’s more than just the face value of the device to consider. Do you need a subscription to get the full feature set? Are you willing to share your email or other information to receive support? Will they market or sell your data as part of the way that they monetize the product? Do you need additional products to unleash the full potential of the device? Be sure to understand hidden costs, investments, and considerations.
  • Install it right. Nowadays there are plenty of options outside of doing it yourself and hoping for the best. All the mainstream manufacturers would be happy to introduce you to a local contractor or installer in your market. Just reach out. 

 What’s on your smart device list this year? Let us know on Twitter at @AllegionPLC.

 

Rob Martens

Futurist, President of Allegion Ventures