Looking to get the newest tech for your home? Before replacing every item in your space with the latest and greatest in internet-connected devices (also known as the Internet of Things), you may want to take a quick minute and think about these few things.
Trust in the Company Making the Product
Ask yourself or look up:
- Have you heard of the company before?
Although brand name recognition isn’t everything, being familiar with a brand before buying one of their products is a good place to start.
- Has the company been in business for a long time?
Also not the end-all-be-all of deciding factors, but a long track record of success would tend to convey more trust in their products. A company that’s been successful in the electronics space for the last 30 years would likely have a more trustworthy product than that of a brand new Kickstarter campaign.
- Is this a completely new product-type for this company?
Even the best companies can have glitches and growing pains when expanding into different products. Being (effectively) a beta tester for a furniture manufacturer’s new line of smart TVs could lead to some headaches in your future.
- What are the reviews like for the company’s product and any associated app?
Definitely look past just the number of stars a product is given. Take into account how many people have reviewed it. A five-star rating from one person should probably not be given the same amount of weight as a four-and-a-half-star rating from 1,000 people.
While products that are being sold today may be protected against the security threats of today, new threats are discovered every day. Ask or look up how the device’s security vulnerabilities are patched (and then make sure you keep the software up to date). If you are able, find out how long will the product be supported. After all, having a hacker turn on your new internet-connected coffee maker to overheat and catch fire while you’re on vacation would surely be a way to ruin your time away.
Control Over the Information Your Device is Collecting
Look into the settings of the product and (if any) accompanying apps to see what kinds of data are being collected. Can you access, delete, or restrict your information from being shared? Controlling who has access to your personal information should be your choice.
Do you have additional questions or concerns about connected devices in your home? Have you come across a connected device that you believe gives you adequate control over your data? Ask us or share your complaint or story.