PRO: Energy Savings
If your energy bill is making you grumpy, a home automation system could help. Smart home technology makes your home’s energy use not only much more efficient, but completely customizable. A smart thermostat, for example, can be set to a schedule and also controlled remotely via smartphone, tablet, or computer. This way your system works ultra-efficiently, only using energy when you need it.
CON: Another Monthly Expense
Making your house smarter does come at a price, even if it does save you money elsewhere. Do keep in mind that having a greener home can save you money on your taxes, let alone your utilities, especially in the long run.
Forgot to turn off the lights? Lock the door? Turn down the thermostat? No problem. Instead of driving back home to check on the house, check in from work. Door locks, lights, thermostats, and even small appliances can be controlled from anywhere using a mobile device or computer.
During the 2011 DefCon hacker conference researchers demonstrated that home security systems could be hacked – if they operate on power lines. Since such systems send unencrypted signals and use devices that don’t require authentication, hackers could use sniffer devices to monitor security sensors and even turn lights on or disable alarms and cameras. Fortunately, many modern home automation systems are run wirelessly, so fear not the sniffer.
PRO: Peace of Mind
While controlling your home when you’re away is fancy, sometimes just knowing whether you turned off the iron is worth having a home automation system installed in your home. Check into your system any time to view the temperature of your home and status of appliances, lights, and locks.
CON: Technology Learning Curve
Smart home technology will be no sweat if you’re tech-savvy; if you’re the type that had to have your kids teach you how to use your iPhone, your home automation system may take some adjusting to. If you’re comfortable with your phone or other devices you’ll be using to control your home, learning to use the apps that run the system won’t be too tricky. Do, however, expect a little frustration as you learn to make sure everything in your home is connected to your device and working on the proper settings. Ask the technician who installs your system to run you through the program before leaving you to fend for yourself.
Your smart home technology could become obsolete as quickly as your cell phone. Your home automation system could fall out of sync with new smartphone technologies – or vice versa — forcing you to upgrade both regularly. Smart home technology companies are aware of this, so ask about how your provider works to keep your system in sync with the rest of your digital life.
While smart home technology is an investment, having a new age home automation system is immensely satisfying it for the tech-savvy and earth-friendly. If you don’t mind the cost and constant upgrading of your fancy smart phone, you won’t mind cost of the fun you’ll have with your newly-automated home.