The “Internet of things” is hot. Gigaom even put out a connected gift guide showcasing a variety of connected products and home automation devices. But after spending the holiday testing a variety of connected devices and fielding questions from friends and family about the Internet of things, I realized I was answering the same questions and saying the same things over and over. I figured I’d condense it all to a little list in hopes of helping others navigate the smart home and the Internet of things.
Don’t buy a home hub for someone else. You can buy one for yourself, but the home hubs such as SmartThings, Staples Connect, Lowe’s Iris, and Revolv all require a little too much hand-holding work for you to give a home hub to someone who hasn’t specifically asked for one. Best case: They’ll love it, and you’ll be their technical support person for the next decade. In the worst case, they’ll stare at you in utter confusion and frustration when you explain that in order for this hub to be useful, they need to shell out serious cash for connected light bulbs, locks, outlets, switches, and thermostats.