I’ve been into Home Automation for a few years now and, while I’ve had a blast doing it, and love showing off my automations to guests when they come to my house (insert wife’s eye roll here) I still know that I can’t volunteer to help anyone with their setup. It’s just too flaky. Devices are still often challenging to connect to a home automation hub. Internet issues can still create red herrings for automations, and in general you have to be pretty savvy to get things up and going. Besides the cost (I’ve spent more money than I care to admit) it requires a LOT of time and patience to get everything to work together. The biggest issues are:
- To do things well, you have to have some electrician skills. The best setups are hard-wired into the home’s electrical system.
- Connecting devices to hubs can be flaky, and sometimes devices just decide to stop talking to each other which can create a long frustrating trouble-shooting session.
- If your internet connection isn’t always robust, it can’t make devices appear to not work. You end up troubleshooting for a few hours before you realize you just need to reset your modem.
- For more of the really rewarding home automation setups, there’s at least a little programming skill required. All but the basic things require you to understand a conditional statement or a connection string.
- Not everything can talk to everything. The most important decision is which hub to use. While a hub’s user interface might appear to be very simple on the surface, it might not connect to all of the devices you want to use making it more challenging to connect to the devices you hope to use in your home. You have to balance what’s easy with what’s capable.
The best bet is to do some planning, spend some time on message boards to see what folks are asking about for the devices you’re thinking of purchasing, and know what you’re getting into before you make a purchase. My journey has been a blast, and I love the great things my home does for me, but it’s never been “easy” and I’ve found now that the planning I do up front saves me tons of time in the long run.