Did Santa leave you a connected device under the Christmas tree, or maybe you’re considering the purchase of one with gift cards you’ve acquired? Connected, or “smart,” devices are an increasingly popular gift – but they’re not all created equal. Learn more about the “Three S’s” of evaluating a smart device so it can be the gift that keeps giving.
- If you’re in the market for products like lighting controls, smart locks, or thermostats, treat those devices like utilities and look for reputable, trusted brands. When it comes to buying a product that controls your power, safety, temperature and personal data, stick with the brands that have been doing it for years to ensure the most reputable safety standards. They’ll still have the cutting-edge technology that a gadget might offer, but they can blend the cool factor with dependability and safety.
- It might seem tempting to just read user reviews on e-commerce sites, but more and more reviews are being faked (and faked well). Ask a trusted local retailer (like a hardware or electronics store) for feedback before making the purchase, or check out third party product review websites like www.wirecutter.com or www.cnet.com to compare.
- Smart home products today are longer-term purchases; the device should have the ability to get “smarter” over time through software upgrades and extensions. A good device maker will make it more secure — and more functional — over time.
- Consider what kinds of integrations you might want for your connected device. A scalable device – one that is most flexible with its integrations – is the best investment and helps you to create your own IoT-enabled environment.
- Not every device is as straightforward as it seems; sometimes there’s more than just the face value of the device to consider. Do you need a subscription to get the full feature set? Do you need additional products to unleash the full potential of the device? Be sure to understand hidden costs, investments, and considerations.
- Don’t make installation and setup more of a hassle than it needs to be. Nowadays there are plenty of options outside of doing it yourself and hoping for the best. All the mainstream manufacturers are happy to introduce you to a local contractor or installer in your market – or try many of the popular apps that connect you to local freelance contractors.