What are the best smart home accessories

Digital lifestyle

Since the spread of the intelligent loudspeakers Amazon Echo and Google Home, consumers are increasingly focusing on smart home applications. But those who just buy straight away are often faced with problems: devices cannot communicate with each other or are not even recognized. We summarize the seven biggest mistakes when buying a smart home and reveal how you can avoid them.

Error 1: The radio standard was not taken into account

A mistake that is often made when purchasing a smart home device or system is not dealing with the wireless standard. In addition to the use of WLAN, the smart home wireless standards ZigBee and Z-Wave have established themselves here, with the latter being used primarily in Apple environments. Anyone who already uses a Fritz Box at home can also use some smart functions such as controllable heating thermostats, switchable adapter plugs and switches via DECT ULE Han Fun.

You should therefore remember: If smart home devices are purchased that use different wireless standards, they cannot communicate with each other.

Smart Home solution tip: Decide which uniform radio standard should be used when planning the smart home. There are devices that support multiple connection options. For example, Echo Plus and Echo Show 2nd Gen., which support both WLAN and Zigbee Light Link.

Error 2: Smart home devices instead of smart home systems

Many users only start their smart home with one or two intelligent devices, such as a smart radio-controlled socket or a WLAN LED lamp. It is mostly operated via an app. This has the disadvantage that users often have to install and use different smartphone apps to operate different devices. The far greater disadvantage, however, is that the individual devices cannot be linked to one another.

It's different with a smart home system like Homematic IP or Bosch Smart Home. Here the devices usually communicate with each other via a smart home center or a gateway / bridge and the users can create dependencies. For example, a smart motion detector detects movement and reports it to the smart home control center, which in turn causes an intelligent WLAN lamp to switch on. With a smart home system, users can set if-then conditions - also known as smart home routines.

Smart Home solution tip: Before purchasing a single smart home device, consider whether it might be better to use a complete smart home system in the long term. Widespread in Germany is z. B. the Homematic IP Smart Home System.

Error 3: WLAN home network was not configured for smart home use

The smart home system or several smart home devices were purchased, but the WiFi does not reach the last room or the devices cannot be controlled with the app on the smartphone. The problem: Several WLAN repeaters were purchased in the past and each of these repeaters has its own network name. For control, however, the WiFi smart home devices and the smartphone app or an Amazon Echo speaker must be in the same home network.

Smart Home solution tip: If you want to transform your home into a smart home and rely on the WLAN radio standard, rely on a mesh network. A mesh home network ensures good WiFi coverage and a uniform home network name throughout the house. Examples of mesh solutions are TP-Link Deco P7 or Google Nest Wifi or a mesh set from AVM, where the mesh WiFi router takes over the WiFi function of the internet modem.

Mistake 4: Cheap smart home imports instead of branded goods

Inexpensive smart home systems are tempting, as they often only cost a fraction of what would have to be spent on a branded system. Asian devices in particular are entering the market here. However, users also take risks when it comes to missing security certifications. In addition, there are problems with the app, so users often report that the user interfaces are not translated. Even with support inquiries, buyers of cheap import solutions are sometimes alone, so that many users often make a new purchase in frustration, which negates the savings effect.

Smart Home solution tip:Before buying a smart home system, research tests or forum entries. If a system has been shortlisted, find out whether there is German-speaking support or user groups that can help with problems.

Error 5: Operation of the smart home devices was not taken into account

It may sound a bit banal at first, but it is still underestimated. We are talking about the ease of use of a smart home system. Many users do not use their smart home system or use it little because it is too complicated to operate.

Smart Home solution tip:Do you think about how the individual components should be controlled before you buy your smart home solutions: Using Alexa or Google Assistant, using a smartphone app or more traditionally using a display panel and remote control? Voice control of lamps or devices is particularly useful for older people or people with physical disabilities.

Mistake 6: Do-it-yourself instead of a professional smart home service provider

Residents often take over themselves with do-it-yourself smart home systems. Especially if the solution is a little more professional and various routines have to be worked out, such as automatic roller shutter control in connection with the sun's rays. Another mistake that many make: They overlook the fact that they can also apply for KfW grants for smart home solutions. These are available for conversions that are used for age-appropriate living or to increase burglary protection.

Smart home solution tip: If a smart home system is to be purchased for a new building or as part of a renovation, check whether the measure is funded by KfW. It is important that KfW funding is only available if the construction project was carried out by a specialist and an invoice is available.

Error 7: Lack of security measures on smart home devices and systems

The security concerns about smart home solutions are great. Intelligent loudspeakers are often referred to as "eavesdropping bugs" and smart home devices as a gateway for hackers. Here are a few examples from the reporting:

As with any technology, the right and responsible use of the smart home is also important. It is not for nothing that the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) warns of security loopholes that devices can use, for example, to smuggle malware into a home network. This primarily affects smart home systems that use the WLAN radio standard.

Smart home solution tip:Prevent security gaps in your smart home by creating a guest network that you can use to connect your smart home system or your smart home devices to the Internet. Always assign strong passwords and opt for solutions in which the manufacturer carries out automatic firmware updates. (PC world)