A smart home that ensures all of your systems such as heating and lighting are automated can be extremely handy. It means you can arrive home to a cosy abode that’s at just the right temperature, with the lights creating a warming atmosphere and your favorite playlist playing on your sound system.
That is until the internet goes down. Then, the best smart home devices become, well dumb. Samsung, however, is hoping to make this a thing of the past with a new technology that it’s building into its SmartThings platform that will run automations even when the user’s internet connection goes down.
SmartThings Edge is a new framework for the SmartThings system, which uses a SmartThings hub to control a range of smart home devices such as smart lights, smart plugs and smart thermostats, even if they’re not made by Samsung.
Samsung claims this new technology will also ensure smart home devices are faster to respond to commands because they will be processed by the hub rather than having to be relayed to the cloud.
Internet access is the biggest barrier to smart homes
According to Park Associates, 36% of US homes have at least one smart home device installed. However, the growth of the smart home is slightly slower than has previously been estimated. Market research Statista had expected that 52.22 million US homes – around 38% – would be regularly using smart home devices by now. So what’s behind the slower than predicted uptake?
In my opinion, it’s the worry about whether smart home devices will still work even if your internet connection is lost. Many of us enjoy a reliable and fast internet connection, which offers a speed at which we can do everything we’d like online, from surfing the web to watching streaming services and controlling our smart home systems.
According to research by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), however, 25 million people in the US are making do with slow, unreliable broadband, which means their smart home devices will often be rendered useless.
I’ve certainly experienced the frustration of a temporary loss of internet and the effect it’s had on my smart home devices. While they can still be controlled manually – for example, using the light switch on the wall rather than asking Alexa to turn the lights on, or plugging the appliance connected to a smart plug directly into a wall socket – it really contradicts the tale we’re told about just how easy smart home devices can make your life.
Then, you’ve got to factor in time to check that each smart home device is working correctly when the internet comes back on. It feels like there’s always one device that needs a reboot, or in some cases to be completely reset, before it’s up and working properly.
If SmartThings Edge really can ensure that smart home devices still work and automations will run even if there’s no internet access, it will certainly relieve some of the frustrations experienced with smart home devices. It could potentially help increase adoption, too. Here’s hoping other smart home hub manufacturers can implement similar technology – Amazon, it’s over to you.