Smart lights, plugs and voice assistants are easy to install and use. But some promising technologies are not suitable for the average citizen, even if they look great. These smarthome devices look awesome but have too many obstacles.
I spend a lot of time working on smarthome devices. What I have, what I do not have, what is available and what might be possible someday. As a smarthome Junky I would like to have everything by default. But better sensations (and my family) keep me under control. Some devices, even if they exist, are not suitable for the average smarthome consumer.
And this can happen for a number of reasons, be it because of the price, the need for a professional installer or the required modification of your home and property. It's one thing to connect a video doorbell or a light switch. There is another way to power the shower or to lay wires in your yard.
Intelligent water shutdown switches are not granular
Some companies, such as Moen and Phyn, offer smart appliances to monitor your water usage. This monitoring is accompanied by leakage, water consumption measurements and even the possibility to shut off the water.
You can enable this last feature in several ways according to a set schedule (to prevent excessive showers)) or when the system detects a leak.
However, two related issues keep these systems out of the mainstream. First you need to hire a plumber to install the device. And second, the system must be installed on the main water supply of your home. That is, when you turn off the water, do not turn it off for a particular shower or sink. The system locks the water for the entire house. It is overdone for the needs of most people.
Smart water-assist devices are also expensive. You can expect to spend between $ 500 and $ 700 before the plumber. And if you have no power for the main water supply, you must also hire an electrician to fix this problem.
Installing Smart Energy Monitors can provide you with power.
You may have heard of Sense Energy Monitor, but that's not the only smart energy monitor on the market. Smappee (who wins the competition with the worst names), Neurio and Emporia also want to monitor their energy use.
For the most part they have some similarities. Usually the monitors run around $ 250 and you need to connect them directly to the wiring in your circuit breaker box. While the clamping system that these devices use looks simple, your circuit breaker box is the last place you want to fool around without proper training. Turn off all power in the circuit breaker box. If you do not know what you are doing, you may be electrocuted while trying to install an energy monitor. To install a smart energy monitor, you must call a qualified electrician.
If you call the electrician, it's probably a good idea to explain what you want to connect to your circuit breaker box. Although it should be easy for them if they are unfamiliar with the equipment (which is likely), they will want to see everything first. That is an additional cost factor. If you do not have a spare switch with the correct voltage for the monitor's power supply, this must also be installed by the electrician, which increases costs even further.
The jury is not yet sure how good energy monitors are working even at this point. Sense and Neurio both try to identify your devices by measuring energy consumption and comparing it to known data. Of the two monitors, Sense is more granular and can detect bulbs, but that does not mean it's always right.
You may have to spend hundreds of dollars installing the device to find out if your fridge is a microwave, and your microwave will not be recognized at all.
Smart shades are stupidly expensive.
Intelligent shades look fantastic. You've probably seen them in a movie or commercial, especially when it comes to portraying someone as very rich. When the person wakes up, she gives a simple command or pushes a button and all the shadows in the room rise. It sounds fantastic and in practice it is.
However, if you live near several houses, look around the windows. How many are similar? How many are different? Do you see even more window sizes and styles when you move a street?
Unfortunately, the designs of houses vary quite drastically, and with them the windows change too. In general, Smart Shade companies build tailor-made units for their homes. This increases the overall cost of the project.
The price for a custom standard color tone is already high. The addition of smart technologies only aggravates the problem. Lutron Serena sunglasses, one of the most popular options on the market, can cost $ 350 or more to cover a single window. And you still have to buy the $ 150 Lutron bridge for the remote.
If you think that $ 350 is not that much, take a moment to count and count your windows. It adds up extremely fast. And again, you might need power near your windows, or you might have to opt for a battery-powered solution that is bulkier and requires charging.
Intelligent showers need electricity
What sounds better than rolling out of bed and telling Alexa to turn on the shower at 95 degrees? When you are in the bathroom, the shower is warm. It's not just the steam that tells you the shower is ready, the digital display confirms the temperature. And if you do not want warm water, you can also lower the temperature by pressing a button.
Everything about a smart shower sounds great until you realize it needs power. Smart showers like U by Moen usually require a powered thermostatic shower valve. You need to buy both the smart shower and the thermostatic valve for the system to work. You can place the valve anywhere in your bathroom with some rules. The location you select requires power and an access point after installation. You also need to route a data cable from the valve to the shower if you have not laid it directly behind the shower head.
When installing the water monitor, you may need to lay water pipes to the cable of your choice, and also electricity if the place you choose does not have a power outlet. The preferred location for the valve is in your wall, so you're talking about a construction.
If you are unfamiliar with it, you must hire a plumber and an electrician (possibly someone who can do both)) to fill in the missing parts for you. And some smart showers, such as U by Moen or KOHLER Konnect, can cost between $ 300 and $ 600 (without the $ 300 valve) before installation.
Robot mowers want level ground. 19659039] Husqvarna
Roombas and other robotic vacuum cleaners are pretty good. How difficult could a robotic lawnmower be? Actually, pretty hard. But if you think of a Roomba, you are on the right track. Imagine an oversized Roomba and replace the vacuum with cutting blades. This is what resembles an average robotic lawnmower like the Husqvarna Automower or the Robomow RS630.
But the similarities end pretty quickly. Most robotic vacuum cleaners work with either a push and pull system, beating randomly against walls and furniture, or using a LIDAR system to map your home. None of these methods is sufficient in an open yard. Therefore, on most robotic lawnmowers you do not only need to lift bumps and tracks, but you also need to attach wire guards like an invisible dog fence.
Roomba plans to launch a robotic lawnmower with no invisible fence later this year However professionally installed beacons are required in your yard.
Even worse, manufacturers are developing robotic lawn mowers for level ground. They have hanging problems (and most of them do not promise anything beyond 35 degrees) and are stuck in holes. These lawn mowers are best suited for a square yard without trees, bushes, hills or crevices. This is a significant limitation for a lawn mower that costs between 1600 and 2000 US dollars.
Hope on the Horizon
All of these devices are promising and could be a great addition to a smart home. If you are ready and able to spend time and money, you can now have your water monitor or sunglasses.
But for everyone else, the good news is that things are getting better. Phyn introduced a much cheaper water monitor that overrides the shut-off feature. Although losing the ability to reduce water flow can be a significant loss, anyone can install the new water assistant. And for half the price and without a plumber, it is much cheaper.
In the world of intelligent shadows, Ikea plans to bring the concept to market. The company's Fyrtur screens are available in a variety of sizes so they may not fit perfectly with your windows. However, they spend less than $ 200, making up almost half of the cost of other companies.
Although you do not install most of these smart devices in your home today, this could change in the future. This time could come even sooner than you think.