Mediaplanet chatted with Craig Poulsen of Craig’s Tech Talk on smart connected homes and automation.
What are some common misconceptions in the world of connected homes and automation?
Many people believe that smart home products are too hard to set up and use. Smart home companies cannot stay in business if the average person cannot set up their products. Some folks also see laziness in automating lights and other tasks. It’s true. It’s not hard to turn on or off a light manually. However, leaving the lights on is also easy, wasting energy. Automation can help prevent that. I also think there are many questions about investing in a smart home. For example, “Why have a smart speaker in your house listening to your conversations” or “Do they really offer that much value.”
How can a connected home help with accessibility, simplicity, and convenience?
I’ve heard from viewers who use cameras to help children and family members who need care and people with mobility issues who use voice commands to turn on the lights, the TV, and more. I’ve also heard from visually-impaired users who say the Amazon Echo has been a game changer. It opens up a new way to control your home and get information.
In my house, I’ve had my Ring Alarm go off, notify me, contact the Sheriff, and show me recordings of those Sheriffs checking my house. On a daily basis, my smart device’s shutdown automation at 8 a.m. turns off all the lights people turn on in the morning. I like that my office lights turn on when I walk into the room. But only between the hours of 4 p.m. and 12 p.m. I like that my living room curtains close by themselves. Or the 11 p.m. routine that shuts off the lights downstairs — a good reminder to go to bed.
What factors should be considered between Wi-Fi, hub, and Thread-connected homes?
I’m a big fan of using hubs and avoiding Wi-Fi. My most reliable devices use hubs. These include my Lutron Caseta switches, Philips Hue bulbs, Flic buttons, eufy cameras, and more. So many devices use Wi-Fi — the 2.4 GHz band becomes crowded with devices spitting out Wi-Fi signals. The hubs operate on different frequencies.
As for Thread, I love it. I am a big fan of the Nanoleaf Essentials light strips and bulbs. I use these where I want the best white light, and they’re my fastest responding lights. With Thread, when you turn them off, they all turn off simultaneously. Wi-Fi devices can lag and come on or off at slightly different times.
Do you have any initiatives you would like to share?
The only initiative I have been involved with recently is the #EnergyChallenge sponsored by IFTTT. Brian invited me from Automate Your Life, who has helped create this challenge to save energy and money.