A house that thinks for itself – what sounded like pie in the sky a few years ago is becoming more and more popular today. This is made possible by smart home systems, which automatically control numerous functions in the household: from the light and heating to the windows and appliances such as the stereo system, refrigerator and washing machine. For homeowners, these systems not only represent an enormous relief. They also help to save energy and provide more security .
But of course concerns remain: Many users shy away from the costs of a smart home system or worry about data protection. The lack of compatibility between manufacturers is also still a problem.
In this article we will tell you the advantages and disadvantages of smart home systems.
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Benefits Of Smart Home Systems
Simplifications In Everyday Life
Smart home systems can relieve you of many manual tasks in everyday life: You can open windows, doors and garage doors via smartphone or voice control and operate electrical devices remotely, while a fingerprint sensor on the door makes the key superfluous.
There are also fully automatic systems: if smart blinds are installed, for example, they register the solar radiation and darken accordingly. The light switches on as soon as you enter the room, and Smart Home is also on the rise when it comes to household chores: If you don’t feel like vacuuming, mopping and lawn mowing , for example, you can simply leave this work to your robot .
A smart fridge will show you which groceries are still available when you’re on the go, and even washing machines are already available as Smart Home versions. They can be controlled remotely with a smartphone and automatically adjust the detergent dosage to the amount of laundry. Admittedly, none of these functions are essential to life; However, they help you to make your everyday life more comfortable and efficient.
A neat home can arouse desires – but here, too, smart home systems offer the right solution. Anyone who wants to deter burglars , for example , benefits from so-called presence simulations . The lighting switches on and off at random intervals, giving the impression that the house is occupied. If this is not enough, sensors can register when windows or doors are opened without permission – and immediately send an emergency call . Would you like to check on everything in the apartment at all times? Then simply install cameras that you can access with your smartphone.
Of course, a smart home security system is not limited to burglaries: smart smoke detectors automatically send a warning to your cell phone in an emergency; Water level detectors sound an alarm if the washing machine runs out and carbon monoxide detectors monitor the boiler, so you don’t have to worry about toxic gasses.
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Many experts recommend: The first smart home system in the house should be a heating system – no wonder, because this is where the greatest potential for saving energy lies . A smart heater registers, for example, whether windows are open or the occupants are out of the house, and connects to weather apps to ensure optimal temperatures in any weather. In this way , up to 100 euros can be saved in energy costs per year .
Of course, you can also configure such a heater according to your own wishes : For example, would you like to be greeted by a warm apartment after work? Thanks to heating plans, this is not a problem.
A smart home system also helps to save electricity : intelligent sockets, for example, avoid energy losses in standby; Smart lights only turn on when you’re there, and the robot hoover sucks more efficiently than a two-legged friend ever could. In addition, smart home devices such as washing machines can be connected to the photovoltaic system if desired – and wait until it has reached its maximum output before operating it.
So far we’ve been pompously talking about the smart home system – and that term might sound a little intimidating to newcomers. You don’t need a complex system of devices that communicate with each other to start with . You can also start small and first buy a smart home device – for example a vacuum cleaner robot or smart thermostats. If you then realize that you want to expand their operation, for example by voice control , the next device comes along. You decide for yourself how extensive your smart home should be.
Disadvantages Of Smart Home Systems
Lack Of Compatibility
So far there is no uniform standard for smart home devices . This means that some of them can be coupled with each other, others not. While products from the same manufacturer can still be combined relatively easily, it is possible that the different radio standards will thwart your plans. In extreme cases, manufacturers even prevent their devices from being connected to the competition. Unlimited Freedom? None!
The EEBus initiative shows that there is another way : In this initiative, several companies are working on a standard that allows smart home devices to communicate across manufacturers. However, it is currently difficult to foresee how extensively EEBus – or another standard – will prevail. The question also remains: Can the smart home device bought today be connected to new devices in a few years? To be on the safe side here, you should give established manufacturers preference over no-name products.
Of course, work simplification and intelligence have their price. You have to pay significantly more for smart home devices than their non-smart counterparts. What’s more, it’s not always the acquisition costs that count. If, for example, several little helpers are to be networked, you need a control center . This collects data such as temperature, humidity and opening of the windows and sends them to the individual devices. Add to that a subscription to the software, a fee to store the data , and the smart home purchase quickly becomes a bottomless pit. Also the cost of installation should not be underestimated, because: The more complex the smart home system, the more likely lay people will reach their limits and have to hire a specialist.
Handling Of Personal Data
Smart home systems know a lot about their users . On the one hand, this is practical for adapting the functions specifically to individual needs. On the other hand, however, the question of safety remains: those who are not familiar with this area can experience nasty surprises. Did you know z. B. That there are entire websites with live streams of private security cameras – all because users forgot to change the default password? Or that hackers can exploit security gaps to manipulate devices and access sensitive data?
As you can see, the risk of misuse increases with the number of networked devices . If you want to make your home “smart”, you should at least learn the basics of cyber security. Equally important is choosing a trusted provider that protects their devices from access and offers regular security updates.
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