The popularity of home security and automation created quite a surge in the number of market players over the last 7 to 8 years. As is common in these types of scenarios, the market became saturated over time. Now, some of those players who never specialized in either security or home automation are bowing out. Their customers are finding themselves stuck with the equipment they cannot use with other services.
This is why home security and automation should be left to the experts. You wouldn’t rely on Vivint SmartHome to supply your television and internet service, so why would you trust your cable company to provide your smart home equipment and service?
In the era of specialization in which we now live, it just makes sense to go to the experts for every product or service we need. Companies trying to do too many things for too many people are not experts at any of them, thus they do not provide the kind of service we expect. Such is the case for Spectrum, one of the largest cable operators in the country.
No Longer Supporting Smart Homes
Spectrum customers recently began receiving notices that the company will no longer support smart home services beginning February 5, 2020. In fairness, the company never established such services on its own. They were inherited when spectrum purchased Time Warner and Bright House a few years back. That is little consolation to customers who spent hundreds of dollars purchasing equipment that can’t be used separately from Spectrum.
Spectrum says they have partnered with two other companies to pick up the slack for interested customers. They also say they will be offering affected customers exclusive offers and equipment discounts to help them make the transition to a new provider. Their internet, television, and phone services will continue uninterrupted.
Not a Bad Thing
Customers are obviously unhappy with Spectrum’s decision. In the end, however, this does not appear to be a bad thing. Spectrum is not a technology company with an eye on becoming a smart home powerhouse. They are a telecom company and their main focus is internet and television services. They want to focus their attention on that market, as they should.
The good news for customers is that switching to one of the two partners should be better in the long run. One of those partners is Ring, the same company that brought us the original video doorbell. The ring is a technology company built on the concept of smart homes and home security.
For the record, the Ring video doorbell was a game-changer when it was first released. Though technologically simple in principle, it proved that something as seemingly innocuous as a video camera embedded in a doorbell could make an enormous difference in preventing common crimes such as porch piracy and burglary.
At any rate, Spectrum customers who switch providers are likely to receive better support after the switch. They are likely to have access to better software upgrades and better equipment moving forward. They might even find that their smart home services cost less because the new provider is a direct competitor in a very crowded environment.
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Installing a New System
While Spectrum customers figure out what they are going to do come February, maybe you are thinking about diving into the smart home pool. You are thinking about installing a new system for controlling lights, thermostats, window blinds, and more. Good for you. The best piece of advice anyone can give you is this: stick with a provider that specializes in home automation and security.
Depending on your budget, you might want to think about the following:
- Security Cameras – One or two security cameras positioned at key locations can deter burglary and help you keep an eye on things when you are not home.
- Video Doorbell – A video doorbell is almost a must-have for modern home automation systems. They are so easy to use and install, why would you not have one?
- Smart Locks – Modern smart locks offer all of the security you expect with the convenience of remote access and keyless entry. Need we say more?
This list is by no means conclusive. Your automated smart home could include devices for lighting, thermostat control, your windows, your appliances, and virtually anything else that runs on electricity. All you need is a hub and the necessary sensors and you are good to go. Consider just a few of the possibilities:
- Exterior Lighting – Imagine an exterior lighting package that can automatically change with time of day, weather, or even seasons. Full home automation makes it possible to set up lighting around your house that can be controlled automatically with programming. Set a scene for entertaining your friends on the back patio. Program another scene for Christmas lights. Your home automation system handles everything else.
- Voice Activation – Thanks to modern smart speakers, voice activation is a common component of the new smart home. You are no longer limited to asking your smart speaker for the weather forecast or the latest football scores. Now you can use it to turn lights on and off, arm and disarm your home security system, adjust the temperature, and more.
- Remote Access – A truly smart home is one with technology that you can access remotely. A typical smart home package for 2020 includes a mobile app that does just that. Use the app to monitor video cameras in real-time. Override thermostat settings to accommodate changes in your schedule. Use the app to remotely unlock doors when your guests arrive for their much-anticipated visit.
Home automation technology is changing the way we view both security and convenience. Suffice it to say that, as new technologies emerge, both home automation and security are getting better. If you are planning to invest in making your home a smart home, just remember this one thing: home security and automation should be left to the experts.