Smart Technology Hiccups

Smart Technology Hiccups: Dealing with Snags

In the beginning, when the Internet of Things first started to inch its way into our hearts and homes, there was quite a bit of discord. Different components were being released, but they weren’t always compatible with…well…anything. Now that there are a few fairly standard protocols in place things are smoothing out, and the systems are actually serving useful functions. A light that turns on by itself is one thing, but when you can close your garage door after you’ve left the house – now that’s really something.

Unfortunately, as with all technology, there can be weaknesses, and things can go wrong. Glitches in the software, power interruptions, and incompatible protocols can all put a kink in your high-tech, convenient lifestyle. Here are some other problems that can crop up, and how you should deal with them – or ideally, avoid them (an ounce of prevention really is worth a pound of cure in this case!).

Problem: Too Many Standards

This is possibly the biggest roadblock to a successfully operating smart home system, even with the major advances over the past few years. There are currently more than a handful of different ways in which devices communicate, including – but not limited to – Wi-Fi, Z-Wave, ZigBee, IFTTT (If This Then That), Bluetooth, and more. While some methods are compatible with others, and some individual components work with more than one type of hub, it really is still too much right now. Ideally, you would have one protocol, and all available devices would function on it.

Solution: Pick one system and stick with it. When you shop for components, double-check that they fit with your specific hub type. Alternatively, you can stick to only devices that allow you to blend protocols – again, this requires rigorous research before purchasing.

Problem: Hacking Risk

In 2015, a security firm attempted to hack into 16 different smart devices. They succeeded with each one, in as short a time as 20 minutes. This is particularly an issue with some smart security systems, as a radio jammer can be used to interfere with their effectiveness.

Solution: Do some digging into the technology you’re looking at and where it stacks up regarding security protocol. In general, you want “banking” or “military” level security measures.

Problem: Temperamental Operation

Some devices utilize a standard that sends the command to the cloud, back to the hub, and finally to your device. If anything interferes as the signal is being passed around, the device will not operate as instructed. Wink recently experienced difficulties with this, and finally instituted local control so that users could bypass the issue.

Solution: Check your prospective equipment for local control options. Make sure the signal protocol used has a reputation for reliability. Insteon, for example, utilizes a system in which each device behaves as a repeater so that the signal grows stronger and stronger as it gets passed along the network. People tend to be vocal online about what works well and what doesn’t so take advantage of online reviews.

If You’re in Over Your Head

When technology runs so much of your life, sometimes a glitch happens, and no matter what you do, you just can’t get everything on track. ServiceLive can do your home network installation, get your devices in sync, and show you how to optimize their effectiveness. As a part of Sears, you can even purchase your equipment through our Sears Connected Living Store. Contact ServiceLive today and let us help you get in touch with a qualified, fully screened service provider who can solve your smart home problems.


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