The New York Timespublished an eye-opening essay on October 14, which summarized the author’s experiences connecting his home to the IoT using do-it-yourself products. In “The Pitfalls of the D.I.Y. Connected Home,” author Nick Bilton described making a vigorous attempt at connecting his home. He wrote, “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.”

Bilton said it took him “the better part of a week to get these devices working.” He had difficulty getting the products to find his wireless network, enabling them to connect to his phone, or even simply understanding why they wouldn’t work. One of several examples the author gave was installing the video surveillance products. He cited three brands — Canary, Arlo and Nest Cam — saying, “While they all offered crisp video and motion detection, they each had a fatal flaw.”  One of the products had awful night vision capability and every time a fly came within range of the camera it sent a security alert! Another had a “terrible” app. The third didn’t work at all and the author had to go through several replacements before he could connect.

The author praised Lutron’s Caséta Wireless switches and plugs, which allow lighting control from a smartphone or from the Apple Watch. “It was so simple to set up that I thought I had done something wrong. When I saw these lights work for the first time, I realized why I had started this painful endeavor in the first place. Telling your phone, ‘Siri, turn off my lights,’ is nothing short of magic,” Bilton wrote.

He finished the essay with a lesson: “Maybe all these connected-home gadgets aren’t ready for the home. And maybe this is a job that should be left to the professionals, like painting your house or rewiring your outlets.”

What a great plug for the residential integration/security industry! Stay tuned, as Bilton promised to write about his experiences in working with an expert to connect his home to the Internet.

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