Before We Start
I never thought I would do anything with the Internet of Things so quickly. You can hear me on my podcast completely rail against its security, but over the last six months, I’ve expanded from nothing, to many different devices. People are generally interested, but they want a normal person’s perspective. I want to offer that to them.
Before we start, I want to mention a few things:
- I will use Amazon Affiliate Links for the items I’m reviewing.
- I will state if items were purchased, or given to me to review.
What I currently Own:
- Amazon Echo
- Amazon Echo Dot
- Nest Thermostat
- Chamberlin Garage Door Opener
- Philips Hue Lights
- Automatic Car Tracker
What I’m Looking For:
- Is the item necessary/useful? What problem does it solve?
- Is it simple to use?
- Is it secure?
- Can it be used by other members in the household?
Is it necessary?
I see a ton of new IoT devices that are just useless. The product checks off random checkbox features that the marketing team decided were necessary. Most of these things are features are implemented poory, or no one will ever use.
Is it simple to use?
The the use becomes too complicated, no one will use it. When was the last time you checked for updates on your smart TV? Just like the blinking 12:00 on your old VCR, products should be helpful, and not overly complicated to set up and use.
Is it secure?
This is a big sticking point in my recommendations. Did the company just slap on some random sticker that says “Military Grade Encryption.” The last thing you want is a device being compromised, and being used to steal your traffic, or other credentials.
Can it be used by other members in the household?
My biggest gripe right now with all these devices is that you have to tie the product to one owner. Then you have to share that accounts user/pass with the rest of the household. While this isn’t a dealbreaker in most cases, it does reduce security because you will generally reuse the same email and password. Making a spreadsheet of really long and difficult passwords to have to copy/paste on mobile is daunting. What I would like is an account not tied to an email address. Preferably everyone in the household could create an unique one and tie the single product in. Then everyone can have a different user/pass, but at least a username can be standardized.