Smart home gadgets – Are they smart enough?

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Smart home gadgets can make every corner of our lives easier. From automated lighting to being able to see the inside of your fridge from anywhere, these devices are beyond futuristic. But, are they actually smart enough?

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When you imagine ditching the old-school ways of your home and replacing devices with smart home gadgets, it feels futuristic and promising. The thrill of operating lights, checking the weather, or simply switching channels on the TV with your voice or gestures is beyond imagination. But, is it really that easy? With the never-ending sea of smart brand advertisements we see, it could simply be a case of master marketing.

How practical is it to monitor your home from anywhere with a smart home camera? Is Alexa listening to and recording your private conversations? There are dozens of questions that might make you take a step back before getting into the smart home gadget realm. If you follow some old school procedures, it’s more feasible than it seems.

Last Christmas, nearly a third of Americans upgraded their homes with smart home gadgets. With all of the options on the market, it’s difficult to determine which, if any, work as easily and perfectly as advertised. For example, what if the doorbell cam you installed to keep track of your entryway while you’re away malfunctions due to poor connectivity? Or, what if the devices are too complicated that your family members cannot use them? Not to put you off smart home gadgets entirely, but it is imperative to do your research to make any device worth it.

What are the downsides?

– Ever since the debut of Google Home or the Amazon Echo, we’re seeing smart assistants everywhere. As a result, many people believe that the speakers are always listening and spying. However, this simply isn’t true. They’re super smart and actually wait around for you to initiate. For example, Google Home starts listening and recording only when you say “Ok Google.” Likewise, Amazon Echo begins when prompted with “Alexa.” Also, some smart speakers come with a mute function which completely disables the listening altogether.

Pro Tip: Here’s how you can get started with your smart home.

Online security cameras are there to monitor your home when you’re away. But, it’s true that the camera can also encroach on your privacy if you forget to shut it off while you’re at home. The best possible way to keep it from monitoring all your conversations or activities is to shut it off completely from the power source. Sometimes, going back to old school techniques is necessary.

Belkin NetCam HD+ Night Vision Security Camera

Belkin NetCam HD+ Night Vision Security Camera

Smart locks safeguard your home and help you let others enter the house when you’re not around. They’re popular with many Airbnb rental properties to allow guests in and out during their stay with ease and peace of mind. However, there are high chances of getting remotely locked out if there’s any glitch, such as a software update. In fact, a similar situation recently happened with Lockstate’s smart locks. But with smart locks like RemoteLock, you still get access to the doors mechanically even if there’s any digital catastrophe.

Obsidian Smart Lock by Kwikset

Obsidian Smart Lock by Kwikset

– All smart gadgets operate via the internet. So, if your connection is poor or your router has issues, you’re instantly limited, no matter how smart the gadget is. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep your connection in tip-top shape.

Do smart gadgets make us lazy?

In a way, yes. Whether it’s a smart robot cleaning the floor or a smart laundry folding machine, it’s all about making our lives easier (and more sedentary). Let’s face it: we don’t use these gadgets only while we’re out. The comfort of relaxing on the couch and watching chores happen by themselves is irresistible. We’d like to think that we’ll maximize all this free time with working later, spending time with family, or even fitness. But, let’s be honest. Naturally, we let these smart gadgets take over our home in totality to make our lives easier.

Braava iRobot 380t Floor Mopping Robot

Braava iRobot 380t Floor Mopping Robot

But, some gadgets truly do help us improve our lives. A smart sleeping gadget can help you catch up on sleep while or another ensures you don’t let your meat overcook. For these smart home gadgets, it’s less about time and more about health.

While all of this might sound overwhelming, the mere possibilities and capabilities of smart home devices are enchanting. We recommend starting small and working your way up to a totally smart home. Use a combination of both smart and traditional devices to balance your life in a way where even if the internet is offline, the door locks are equally secure.

The Gadget Flow Daily Digest highlights and explores the latest in tech trends to keep you informed. Want it straight to your inbox? Subscribe now.

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Meet Ashley Timms

Ashley Timms is the Editor in Chief at Gadget Flow where she gets to write about the most incredible products in the world. When she’s not writing, she’s producing fine art dog photography.

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