The Pitfalls of the D.I.Y. Connected Home

Nick Bilton, for the New York Times:

So to join the future, I picked up dozens of so-called smart products with the mission to install them myself. These products are touted as “plug and play,” meaning they are supposed to just work. But as I soon learned, that could not be further from the truth.
It took me the better part of a week to get these devices working. Some of them wouldn’t find my wireless network, others wouldn’t connect to my phone. Still others would give me indecipherable blinking red and yellow lights.
So rather than you having to experience what I went through, let me walk you through some of the good, the bad and the downright abysmal devices I experimented with.

I've stayed far away from any connected-home devices for a few reasons:

  1. Opening up devices inside my home to the public internet 24/7 is a non-starter. I have no reason to trust any device's internal security measures this early in the game, and putting my own security layer in place would be far more trouble than it's worth.
  2. The last thing I want to do when I get home from work is deal with technology issues, and I work in IT. I'd imagine non-technical people would have even less patience for it.
  3. The manufacturers flooding Home Depot and Lowe's with products have no track record in building great software or designing great user experiences. 

Internet-of-Things vendors expect us to overlook these issues purely in exchange for the convenience of remotely controlling your home's various functions. The value proposition simply isn't there, as I see it.