Continuous developments in the fields of IoT (Internet of Things) and AI (artificial intelligence) are spurring a new wave of innovation in the home automation industry, which is estimated to reach $114 billion by 2025, according to Honeywell International.
With IoT devices becoming increasingly advanced and feature-rich, there has been a huge uptick in demand for robust, tech-based solutions that enable a seamless smart home upgrade.
The COVID-19 pandemic has further accelerated the adoption of smart homes as people have started spending more time indoors and are gravitating towards technology that can not only improve their quality of living but also helps in simplifying the daily household chores.
Despite the growing awareness and inclination towards smart home solutions, there persist a few myths surrounding home automation that prevent people from taking the ‘smart home’ leap. The misconceptions arise mainly from the pop-culture depiction of the smart home – a house where every component is expensive and requires a lot of maintenance.
In reality, turning your home into a smart one neither requires a large sum of money nor extensive effort. A little planning in choosing the products that fit your budget and preferences can go a long way in making your living space smarter.
Let’s take a look at some of the common misconceptions people have about a smart home installation.
Myth #1: Smart homes don’t work
In the initial days of smart home commercialisation, home automation companies overpromised and underdelivered. Their main focus was on providing low-cost solutions, and quality took a backseat. This created a negative perception around smart homes and consumers thought of the entire concept as a marketing gimmick.
However, new-age smart home service providers are now utilising superior technology to offer high-quality solutions that may come with a slightly higher price tag, but they exceed customer expectations of a truly seamless smart home.
As further advancements take place in the industry, companies will be able to provide more affordable solutions that would fit every budget.
Myth #2: Smart homes can be hacked easily
The first myth that should be addressed is that smart homes are not secure and can be hacked by anyone, leading to malicious cyberattacks.
While data privacy is an area of concern in the IoT world, smart home solutions providers work with cybersecurity experts and are taking extra precautions while building products to ensure their users’ private information (personal details such as their address, messages, online behaviour, shopping preferences) is safe from going into the wrong hands.
Consumers can also take a few steps such as installing a firewall for the WiFi router, setting strong passwords, and encryptions to safeguard their smart home devices from hackers.
With a reliable security framework in place, smart homes can offer added safety against potential intruders while allowing the residents to enjoy the benefits of a connected system.
Myth #3: Smart homes are expensive to deploy
Contrary to popular belief, setting up a smart home doesn’t necessarily have to be exorbitant. It depends on the extent of connectivity you want to achieve in your home.
For example, installing motion sensors to control electrical appliances like light bulbs and fans is an inexpensive way to add the smart tag to an ordinary house. A complete transformation may come with a hefty price tag, but one can start with simple elements and build onwards from that.
There are a plethora of smart home devices available in the market today, catering to different budgets, sizes of homes, and priorities of users.
Consumers often overlook the fact that tech-enabled home appliances such as smart ACs and refrigerators can help them save a significant amount of money on monthly electricity bills by cutting down the energy consumption.
Myth #4: Smart homes are only for the tech-savvy
While sci-fi movies will have you think otherwise, you don’t need to be tech-savvy for implementing smart home capabilities.
Modern smart home companies spend a lot of time designing products that are easy-to-use and can be seamlessly integrated into the house through the Wi-Fi router.
AI-powered voice-activated speakers including Google Home, Amazon Echo, and Apple HomePod offer support for many smart home accessories, which makes the setup process easier.
Some devices even come with an in-built WiFi connection for added convenience, eliminating the need to install a bridge. Anyone with a smartphone can control smart devices and enjoy the comfort, convenience and safety of a tech-powered, always-connected home.
Myth #5: Smart homes means robots
This is the biggest misconception, anything smart or tech is automatically assumed to be robots. Smart homes can include robots, but it doesn’t have to be the norm. Housekeeping/floor-cleaning robots can be a nice addition, but they don’t necessarily have to be a part of your smart home.
There are many ways through which consumers can incorporate smart features into their houses. For instance, you can invest in a smart switch system to manage the lights or get a smart, voice-controlled speaker to make commands for turning on the TV/stereo.
Starting with something as simple as an Amazon Echo device can add that smart element to your home. Similarly, a video management system for guests or a security camera that allows you to check on your pets when you are away can make your home smart.
The main idea of a smart home is to provide greater convenience, and a device/software solution that adds to the convenience of residents while providing remote access should aid in the smart home transformation.
Myth #6: Smart homes require an internet connection
A world without the World Wide Web may be unimaginable, but it’s now possible to build a smart home without using the internet. An offline smart home requires setting up wireless communications protocols like Z-Wave that uses low-energy radio waves to allow smart appliances to connect and exchange data and commands.
Once the hub is installed, users can control compatible devices such as bulbs, switches and locks without having to connect to a remote server run by the device manufacturer.
Internet-less smart homes offer greater security against data breaches as they are not part of the public cloud. Another advantage is that users can continue enjoying the benefits of their smart home even during a power outage or external disturbances.