Smart home isn’t so smart without internet – Huron Daily Tribune

In last week’s column I wrote about how much I love the technology that I have available to me, but the technology gods must have read that column and decided to punish me this week. 

While my home is not exactly a full-fledged smart home, over the years I’ve worked to increase the technology in my house. When we moved into our current home a couple of years ago, I installed a number of security cameras that can be viewed online, so we can check in on our house when we are gone. Our TV watching is all done on smart devices, like the Apple TV. And I installed Phillips Hue lights throughout much of my house, which can be turned on and off with one of the Google Nest Home devices in just about every room. 

In some ways, my home can feel a bit like Star Trek, as so much of it is connected to the internet. This includes the washer and dryer we purchased with the house, which allows them to send us a notification when the laundry is done. 

All this is great, and makes life so much easier when it all works. I walk downstairs in the morning and say, “OK Google, turn on downstairs lights,” and they all turn on. No looking for multiple switches, just one command and all the lights I want on turn on. 

However, on the occasion that something doesn’t work, it can be quite an exercise in frustration. Such was the case earlier this evening as I write this column. 

I’m still not sure exactly what made our router stop working — maybe the power went out for a few seconds thanks to the high winds. Maybe one of my children knocked it off the shelf when they were playing with a ball in the house for the 6,847th time despite being told the exact same number of times that they aren’t allowed to do that. Who knows? All I know is that when I came home from work, the internet was down. 

In some houses, the internet going down means just that — you can’t get online. But in my house, you might as well just leave, because nothing works. 

“OK Google,” I said, before immediately being cut off by the Google Assistant informing me, “there is no Wi-Fi signal available.”

The first thing to do, of course, is check the router. So I stumble through my living room in the dark, because the Hue lights won’t work, stepping on and tripping over the 387 dog toys littered across our floor. There are approximately 83 lights on the front of our router — it looks eerily like the spaceship from “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” — and about half of them are blinking while the other half are dark. Despite my knowledge of technology, I have absolutely zero clue what this means. 

So I use my phone, which thankfully has data service, to access my internet service provider’s website to see if there is an outage in my area. There is not. So the question becomes, …….



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