“A smart home sucks and is falling apart as a concept”

Smart home devices fail, for example, they can’t set an alarm or open the blinds on time, and they don’t always pair with each other. What other problems they have and what can be expected from them in the future-in the retelling of the material by Fast Company journalist Jared Newman.

In July 2021, the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) technology group published a report on the state of consumer technology. Newman called him optimistic.
According to the CTA forecast, by the end of 2021, the industry is expected to record revenue, mainly due to sales of laptops, wireless headphones, fitness devices and 5G smartphones. Revenue from smart devices.
As a long-time user of the “smart” house, Newman believes that they are not worth their money, since they take a lot of time and nerves, and explains why.
Technical failures
Buyers of “smart” home devices are constantly faced with technical problems. The main problem, according to Newman, is that when the device stops working, the system does not give any feedback. Therefore, it is impossible to understand what exactly went wrong, and it remains only to try again until the program does what it should.
He gives an example of some situations from his own experience:
“Google Assistant” refused to set an alarm clock or read upcoming events in the calendar for several days in a row, but for unknown reasons he corrected himself.
The blinds in the bedroom, connected to the Alexa voice assistant, did not go down at the appointed time.
The Ecobee thermostat sometimes showed the same temperature, and a reboot was required to fix it.
When using the Echo speaker, Alexa played other music instead of the one that was required.
Such misfires are a common phenomenon in the world of smart home devices, writes Newman. Over time, they have not become better at coping with problems. On the contrary, the proliferation of new devices and use cases has increased the number of possible errors, says Carolina Milanesi, an analyst at the research company Creative Strategies.
Device incompatibility
Choosing what to buy in the first place is still a problem, says Newman. There is always a chance to buy devices that will eventually not be able to interact with each other — this is exactly what happened to him.
He describes several cases:
The SmartThings lighting device in the bedroom does not perceive Siri commands, and Tilt blinds work only with Alexa.
The Sonos Beam soundbar responds to voice commands from Google Assistant or Alexa, but supports sound in multiple rooms only with other Sonos speakers or Apple AirPlay technology.
To connect the soundbar to Google Home or Echo devices in other rooms, you must first connect it to a Chromecast or Fire TV.
Such situations can not but annoy, besides, these inconveniences also concern other family members. In order for the devices to work properly, Jared’s wife had to install all the applications and learn the voice commands created by her husband, as well as train the “Google Assistant” to recognize her voice.
A “smart” home should not adapt to just one person, but manufacturers do not seem to care, writes Newman.
What’s in the future
CTA research director Rick Kowalski says that 2020 was a “pivotal year” for smart home devices with revenue growth of 5%. And in 2021, he expects an increase in sales of certain categories of goods, for example, robot vacuum cleaners or “smart” lawn mowers.
Newman agrees with Kowalski that people will continue to buy “smart” devices to solve some individual tasks. But he emphasizes that initially the creators of the” smart ” house promised a more comprehensive solution.
He says that Amazon, Apple and Google had to provide “central intelligence” — a system that skillfully combines many devices. For example, when a “smart” alarm clock knows how to open the blinds and turn on the light in the morning, and the sleep tracker can turn off the thermostat itself.
But for now, the companies are still in search of a single solution:
Google Assistant is trying to combine the functions for home and remote control that Google Nest devices once performed separately.
Apple still has two separate interfaces for controlling the home-through the Home app and using “quick commands”.
Amazon still supports three separate smart home systems via Alexa, Ring and Blink.
Only recently, all three tech giants agreed on a single standard for smart home devices, so that buyers can install fewer applications. But for now, it’s all too confusing and it’s unlikely to become clearer in the near future.

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