Are You Smarter Than a House?

The smart home is the rage at this year’s CES (Consumer Electronics Show). Devices, gadgets, appliances and cars are generating a lot of buzz – along with TVs you can’t buy and drones that you probably can’t fly. Here’s what got our attention.

Apple’s HomeKit platform is ready to install. If you ever marveled at the X-10 or the Clapper, this will have you doing backflips. With Siri-control of Wi-Fi connected to home automation accessories, you can control ceiling fans and window blinds. Very soon, you should be able to control electrical outlets, switches, thermostats and door lock options. HomeKit is matched to products come from some notable companies such as Honeywell, Lutron, Kwikset, iHome and others.

With Apple getting heavily involved, you can expect to have a lot of capabilities all tied to a single app, and using Siri’s voice capability will make it a snap to turn appliances and systems on and off or lock your doors with a simple spoken command.

We’ve already had a preview of how you can keep tabs on everything going on at home even if you’re nowhere near your house. We installed an Internet-accessible doorbell monitor a few years ago that uses a camera and two-way sound system to talk to anyone who rings the bell. It came in really handy soon after we installed it when we were able to accept the delivery of equipment needed for a client installation. Without the system, there would have been no delivery, and the project would have been delayed.

One system at CES takes our old one a step farther by also enabling you to unlock the door to let people into your house. For some families, that can add a totally new dimension to what used to be called “latch-key kids.”

Inside the house, a smart refrigerator is generating some cool news. Expected to hit the market later this year, the deluxe models take pictures of what’s inside your fridge after you close the door – or doors. You can use the pictures for your trip to the supermarket on your way home – unless, of course, you order your groceries online and use a credit card app to pay for them. It’s a combo play from Samsung and MasterCard. Oh, and just to give a good-old warm and fuzzy feeling, the refrigerator has a screen for leaving messages and notes or displaying (scanned) artwork from your kids.

Ford got a lot of attention with its Sync 3 and its compatibility with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but it’s not alone. Many auto manufacturers are jumping into the game. Systems will feature a lot of infotainment applications, but they will tie more closely to smart-home systems.

To be prepared for all the smart-home systems coming to the market, you need to be a smart homeowner by making sure your Wi-Fi network is secure. We’ve discussed network security many times before, but now more is at stake. Smart-home systems will require more passwords and stronger passwords, and you’ll need to make sure you only use secure networks to access your home remotely. If not, it will be just like telling the world the key to your front door is under the mat or in the mailbox.

All of this new technology is both exciting and overwhelming. We can help you eliminate the anxiety by helping you understand how the systems work to make smart selections, and we can make sure your home Wi-Fi network can handle all the technology you install. Call us – 973-433-6676 – or email us. We can help