The term “smart home” can mean many different things depending on who you ask. At its core, smart home technology connects objects you frequently use in your home with an internet-connected device. You can control a smart home via an app on your phone or tablet, making it easy to access all of your lights, locks, switches, plugs, thermostats, and much more, all from one place—even when you’re not at home.
It seems like everything is going “smart” these days, and that can seem daunting. But smart home technology is actually all about simplicity, aimed at making your life easier and more enjoyable. So let’s break down some smart home misconceptions, and the simple truths behind them.
1. You must be tech-savvy to learn how to use a smart home. FALSE
Many people seem to think that you have to be tech savvy to understand or enjoy a smart home. If you frequently feel frustrated with technology, you might shy away from the idea of automating your space through an app on your phone. But the right technology is designed to simplify things—not make them harder.
If you’re already using a smartphone, connecting your smart home is pretty easy. Simply download an app and follow on-screen instructions to connect with and control smart devices. Every smart home system is different. Regardless of device mix, however, any setup should bring your devices together in a way that is simple and intuitive. They’re designed for living, not for spending time on an app. That’s why we spent months studying how residents use their smart homes, then redesigned the IOTAS app to make it even easier to access all of our features. What’s more, we made sure to integrate with digital assistants to ensure even easier utility via voice commands.
2. You’ll spend even more time on your phone when everything is connected. FALSE
Speaking of spending time on your apps…
Screen time is something we’re increasingly aware of—and many of us actively try to limit the amount of time spent scrolling through social media, checking email, watching videos, etc. A smart home doesn’t have to add to your weekly screen usage. Instead, it should be a tool for enhancing the quality time you spend with the people you live with or even just yourself, without the distraction of notifications and endless photos of your friends’ meals.
Program a dinner setting that dims the lights and turns on your favorite French jazz playlist for a romantic meal. Or turn off the TV and turn up the lights in the living room to invite the whole family in for game night. Smart home technology is designed to improve the experience of being present in our homes, not on our phones.
With the IOTAS app, you can save your favorite Scenes and Routines. These customizable automations make it easy to access all the right adjustments with just one touch, voice command, or action, and then get back to life in 3-D.
Of course, screen time if really up to you. (We won’t blame you if you can’t help but post a photo of that perfect dinner setting to Instagram.)
3. Smart home tech is something you should only invest in when you own a home. FALSE
If you’re a homeowner or a property owner, upgrading to a smart home system can be a lucrative move. Whether you’re trying to attract buyers or renters, people want smart home technology; according to recent study by Coldwell Banker, 77% of homebuyers want a smart thermostat, 66% want smart home security sensors, and 63% want smart locks. It’s a simple upgrade that’s sure to win people over. So while smart home technology can be a great investment for homeowners, renters love it, too.
More and more multi-family buildings are adding smart home technology to their units, bringing the comfort and convenience of connected home devices to their communities. Property owners who are interested in attracting more renters can install smart home technology that stays with the building. That way, renters don’t have to buy or install any equipment—connecting to their new smart home is as easy as connecting to the wifi. What’s more, smart apartments tend to command premium rents as the result of the rich experience delivered for residents.
There are also opportunities to save money on the initial investment. Several utility companies and smart home tech manufacturers offer rebates to homeowners who install energy-efficient smart home technology. According to Consumer Reports, many of the largest utility companies in the U.S. offer such rebates, including Georgia Power, Consolidated Edison, and Pacific Gas and Electric. Be sure to check with your utilities provider for rebate offers when investing in new smart home technology.
4. It can save you money on your insurance. TRUE
There’s talk that smart home devices can save you money through certain insurance companies as well. A smart leak sensor could qualify as a safety measure that would be eligible for a discount, similar to savings related to having a home alarm system. Recently, insurance providers have been partnering with makers of smart devices to provide discounts. Take Amazon for example, a partnership between them and Travelers insurance offers customers insurance discounts if they have select Amazon smart home “protective devices” in their home.
According to Valuepenguin.com, discounts through Amazon and Travelers partnership saved residents on average just 3% or $30 per year. There are lots of reasons to add smart home technology to your home, and while the savings on insurance isn’t much any little bit is helpful in one way or another.
Whether your smart devices and system will qualify you for a discount varies widely depending on the insurance provider. Be sure to check with your insurance provider to see if you qualify.
5. Smart home tech leaves your information vulnerable. TRUE/FALSE
Concern over data privacy is growing, as more and more of our lives are tied to the internet in multiple ways.
When it comes to using smart home technology and appliances, you don’t always need personal data. But when you do connect those elements of your home, like switches and plugs, to an app on your phone or a voice command device like Google Home or Amazon Alexa, then your data can be tied to your personal information.
The great news is that data privacy is a number one priority at IOTAS, and we are adamant about data security and protection for all users. Using Z-wave technology enables us to keep the connection between your devices and the IOTAS Connect Hub local vs over the cloud. At any time you can ask us to delete your data to protect your privacy but we also automatically delete your data when you move out and after 1 year.