November 21, 2016

Smart Home Technology (IoT)

This is a great article to read if you want to get started on some fun and creative ways to bolt on some new technology to improve your homes’ IQ. Before we dive in, we wanted to set the stage and mention there are a ton of different types of smart home technology (IoT) and multitudes of ways to apply them so we are only going to focus on a few select ways we are familiar with that will not break the bank.

The Internet of Things (IOT):

IOT has been around since the early 80’s. For example, Carnegie Mellon University created an Internet-connected appliance that would communicate the temperature of the soda cans when they went into the soda machine to measure how long it would take to cool them down, which is a neat fact looking back in history. To learn more about IOT read Wikipedia’s The Internet of Things (IOT) as a reference. This technology is now applicable in so many different ways. For example environmental monitoring, infrastructure management, manufacturing, energy management, medical and healthcare, building and home automation, transportation, metropolitan scale deployments, and consumer applications to name a few.

IOT Security:

In terms of keeping your smart home technology secure our recommendation is to keep the IOT technology separate from the home network to mitigate hacking or any other security vulnerability. To do this buy a wireless router specifically for these devices. For example, we would only connect our IOT devices to this new wireless router and it would be connected directly into our modem and not inter-connected with our other routers on our network.  To be extremely cautious we could go as far as setting up VLAN’s on the network switches or having a unique router for each group of IOT connected devices so if one group resulted in getting hacked they could not intrude onto the other networks or devices.

Easy to Use IOT Platform:

In terms of the platform we recommend investing in for your smart home technology is the Samsung SmartThings product.  The idea is rather simple. They provide an app, a hub, and all your ‘things’ to make your house smarter. The technology they use is ZigBee and Z-Wave and any ‘thing’ for your home that is compatible with this technology can connect with your SmartThings hub. The most popular technologies people are buying are Thermostats, Cameras, Locks, Amazon Alexa or Google Home, light bulbs, Sensors, etc.

Smart Home Tech to Start With:

Back in February of 2016 we published the article ‘Smart Surveillance for your Home & Business’ that reviews Netgear’s Arlo camera system which has been very popular amongst home owners regarding smart home tech.  Other popular ‘things’ are the Schlage Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt, the Linear GoControl Garage Door Opener, and the Nest Thermostat. To read a full list of compatible devices go to this web-site and read about all the cool ‘things’ we can setup to accomplish some of our modern day goals.

Looking Forward:

Other emerging IoT platforms to keep an eye on as this technology evolves are the IBM Watson IoT, SAP IoT, Kaa IoT, and Amazon Web Services IoT. Also consider checking out IFTTT and Stringify for tools that can help make automation better.

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