If your household runs on a budget like mine, you will find this article to be very helpful. Technology is always changing, and investing in it is expensive. In addition to being expensive, it can be challenging to set up and get everything in your home working together. Here are a few hints to help you lower your aggravation and leverage your spending.
One of the easiest things that you can do is pick a platform and stick with it! As you continue to invest in your home technology, leverage deals and options available on your platform. Not only will you save money, but you will also save yourself time and frustration with the configuration. I see people get tangled up in knots when their homes are very random. The router is TrendNet, the Wifi is Linksys, the phone is Apple, the tablet is Windows, wireless speaker is Google, the thermostat is Belkin, the doorbell is Schlage, etc., etc. It’s not that these examples can’t work together, but do they break every time you have an update, and are you saving money by standardizing? You are shaking your head right now, and I understand. 🙂
Do you like Android? Then consider standardizing on Google products. You can experience great Wifi at home with Google’s Home Wifi, great sound with wifi-connected speakers, screen sharing using Chromecast devices, as well as phones, tablets, and even watches. Chromebooks are a great option for a family that primarily uses web and email, and are very cheap. You can utilize Google Drive for your data across all devices, Google Photos for your backup across all devices, and Google Assistant for just about any IoT connected device.
Do you prefer Apple? Same advice, consider standardizing on Apple products. By using Apple home, iPhones, iPads, Apple Computers, AppleTV, etc., together, you’ve eliminated a great deal of configuration and cross-platform headaches. As the largest technology company in the world, nearly every vendor has an Apple version or app compatible with their ecosystem. And as with Google, you can share and backup from all devices to iCloud and carry permissions forward among devices.
Microsoft has finally smartened up here and has put a huge focus on inter-compatibility in the last couple of years. Instead of competing in areas they will never win, they pivoted and ensured their products work as well as they ever have with Apple and Google. They understand how they fit into various competitor ecosystems, and Office 365 is a perfect example of that. Regardless of my device (Apple, Android, or Windows), my experience using Office 365 products is very similar and very stable. As a result, we have also noticed that new products that are being produced by competitors are “friendlier” to Microsoft more than ever before. There aren’t a ton of Microsoft Mobile phones out there nowadays, but there are a ton of PCs and Windows Tablets. Thankfully, Apple and Google are making integration with Windows easier than it ever has before.
Once you develop your core platform, then buying decisions become easier as well. For example, if I want to add a Home Thermostat or Alarm System to my home, and I have the Google Platform, then Nest branded devices make total sense. Not only are they owned by Google, but I can also take advantage of rebates and incentives since other products are already owned.
Another example would be if you were in the market for a baby monitor, and you are using the Apple platform; I would lean toward Arlo since they are funded by Apple, and I can achieve some buying leverage with an Apple HomeKit.
Last example: you have a Surface Pro or some other Windows device at home, and you want to play movies on your family room television. Easy decision—simply buy a Microsoft Wireless adapter, plug into your HDMI port, and begin watching.
The point is this: after a long day, when you finally get to sit down and enjoy a program, or listen to some music, or even help a student with homework—you just want things to work. By standardizing at home, this gives you the best experience for reliability.