Maintaining Your Smart Home
In my previous post, I discussed the costs associated with making your home smart. But what happens after the initial installation? One thing you may not consider is what it will take to keep your home in working order and performing optimally for you, and that is what I’ll be discussing here.
When I talk about the maintenance of a smart home, that can mean a few different things at once. There’s the maintenance of the security of your system, then there’s the maintenance of the equipment that comprises your system. Let’s examine these.
One very simple way to protect your home and its devices is to frequently change your passwords. Your router, apps that control your smart home, your phone that houses those apps, and other devices may all require passwords, or better yet, multi-factor authentication. It is important to have unique, challenging passwords for each item. While this may seem labor intensive and inconvenient, so is recovering from a hack.
In addition to utilizing strong, frequently changed passwords, you should always check for firmware and software updates that may be available for your devices. These updates will ensure that you’re running the most secure version of the software, but they will also perform bug fixes and enhance the reliability of the operating system that controls your home.
As far as equipment is concerned, some maintenance could potentially be built in to the initial installation and will prove to be important in terms of daily upkeep behind the scenes. Power conditioners and uninterrupted power supplies, or battery backups, protect your equipment from potentially harmful power surges or variances, as well as interruptions in the power supply.
I go back to car analogies frequently, but I think it’s handy here when discussing equipment maintenance. Nobody expects to drive a car off the lot and not need to do the necessary upkeep to maintain its performance. Oil changes, tires, filters. These things keep your car on the road, and that’s just part of ownership.
Similarly, a smart home has a lot of moving parts that all need to work together, and if one piece of equipment fails, your system will be crippled as a result. This shouldn’t deter you, though. A quality installer is going to recommend products that have minimal failure rates. Of course electronics can fail. Warranties exist for this reason and may be a worthwhile investment as part of system maintenance.
This larger issue with electronics you will undoubtedly face is product obsolescence. Technology moves so quickly that your equipment will become outdated at a certain point. Think about your smartphone. You generally have it for two years then upgrade to a newer model. And it’s not just for the higher resolution camera, though that is a big draw. It’s because your existing phone will likely no longer be supported by the manufacturer for the long haul. Unfortunately this is simply the reality of technology and the price we pay to have the best incarnation of it. It won’t all happen at once, mind you, but in order to keep your system operating at the height of its abilities, you will need to periodically upgrade your equipment.
If maintaining a smart home might seem like a fair amount of work, that’s true. But a smart home will work for you in a way that an ordinary house cannot. The security and convenience it will afford you will save you both money and time in the long run, making it well worth the expenditure.