Constructing Your Smart Home: DIY vs. Professional Installation
At Josh.ai, we are always exploring how to make user experiences easy for our clients and integrators installing systems. We are often asked by homeowners why Josh.ai is exclusively available through certified dealers since DIY devices are such a prevalent part of the connected home landscape. For many prospective customers, this is the first fork in the road — Install everything yourself or consult with a professional to design and deploy your smart home experience.
Naturally, there are trade-offs that depend on your project’s budget and complexity. Here are a few pros and cons from the Josh team’s perspective to help point you in the right direction:
DIY Smart Home: Pros
TIME (in Theory)
DIY smart home equipment markets itself as being quick and easy to install. For the majority of tech-savvy users, plugging in a device and pairing it to a WiFi network is a fairly straightforward process. Without running wires or programming, a DIY installation can be completed in a day or two.
However, it is not uncommon for networks to be overwhelmed due to bandwidth constraints and there are plenty of stories about end-users getting in over their heads quickly. We would recommend taking it slow and steady, at least to start.
Generally, DIY devices tend to be more affordable and are a great way to get started with smart home functionality. We have found that once homeowners start seeing what is possible with mass-market devices, they often explore how much further they can take their experience with more advanced and custom equipment.
DIY Smart Home: Considerations
While consumers may save on the cost of their connected devices, they are paying that back and then some when it comes to how their data is being monetized. In many cases, big tech companies are sacrificing hardware revenue in exchange for getting a foot in their customer’s doors.
In a DIY smart home, the customer is their own technician. For smaller systems with a handful of devices, it might be manageable for most users. However, general product help sites are only so helpful when it comes to troubleshooting what can be multi-layered challenges. Support issues not only lead to frustration, and potentially endless Reddit rabbit holes, but also many users unplugging devices that they have given up on.
Creating a connected experience that feels smart does not just happen. Each household is unique so the systems involved need to be accessible and designed for every family member to utilize devices however is most natural. Understanding the nuances of how products integrate and create a cohesive system, takes time, research, and expertise.
Professional Smart Home: Pros
A system integrator’s role is to create a seamless, simple, and magical experience for their client. Smart homes are a lot more fun (and seemingly smarter) when everything works as expected after being quality assured by a certified professional.
Some custom electronics require complex wiring, specific network settings, and overall programming forethought. Professional installers are in many ways like a chef, taking all of a smart home’s ingredients and making a recipe that requires precision and a practiced approach.
Even when a professional is involved, challenges can arise and systems need to be reconfigured or updated occasionally. Smart home installers leverage remote troubleshooting tools to monitor, diagnose, and fix issues before a homeowner ever realizes something has happened. In the event that more of a hands-on approach is needed, very few homeowners possess the time, energy, or technical expertise to solve these kinds of challenges.
Installing a reliable smart home ecosystem in a one-bedroom apartment can be a fun project for tech-savvy customers. However, expanding a system across various rooms can become complicated quickly. It is best to consult with a professional when multiple audio/video zones, networked surveillance equipment, and programming automations come into play.
Many DIY smart devices have their own apps, which often leads to customers with a smart home folder on their phones. A different user interface for thermostat vs music vs lighting control can add unnecessary confusion for homeowners trying to figure out where to go to control their devices.
With Josh.ai, our clients enjoy a consistent experience with natural voice control throughout their smart home. Josh clients are also able to intuitively customize and control their experience with the Josh App, which offers feature parity across all of our integrated devices.
A critical requirement of being a premium home AI is respecting and protecting user privacy. Josh.ai not only ensures that clients and their families commands remain private, but it also optimizes how it secures any data collected. While Josh is continuously learning, every user can control how much information their home shares.
Josh will never use client information for marketing purposes or sell user data to third parties. Unlike the mass-market voice assistants, Josh’s sole focus is on providing the most exciting, effortless, and elegant user experience possible.
Professional Smart Home: Considerations
Professional installation and integration is a process that takes time. Technicians are there every step of the way to survey a client’s property, design the system, procure equipment, and deploy the experience. This process cannot happen overnight, but the end result will be worth the wait.
“Some things in life are worth waiting for.”
― Danielle Steel
It is true that professionally installed systems are more expensive, but clients get what they pay for in terms of quality, reliability, and convenience. Depending on the size and scope of a project, homeowners might also be surprised at how attainable a professionally deployed system can be when exploring their options.
The “smart home” has promised an improved quality of life for its customers over the years. However, the experience each user achieves varies depending on their product mix, technological knowledge, and patience when challenges occur. While the Josh.ai team strongly advocates for our partners in the field, we support all smart home adopters and recommend researching every option available before starting your smart home journey.
This article was written by Max Fiore, a Josh.ai Business Development team member. Originally from Connecticut, Max graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder, Leeds School of Business with a degree in Business Administration emphasizing in Marketing.