Not everyone is born with a smartphone in their hand and Wi-Fi-enabled baby monitor in their crib. While computer literacy is becoming ever-more imperative for success in the modern world, there are hoards of people who can barely navigate the web, let alone set up a safe home network. Yet, even as so many struggle to grasp fundamental tech concepts, the desire for IoT devices throughout the home is growing – so how does a luddite balance their desire for advanced products with their unfamiliarity with how to use them properly?
The answer is a two-step process: buy the right gear and invest in solutions that make using tech easier. This guide will walk any level of tech user through the simplest IoT devices and provide examples of services that help with set-up, maintenance and more.
Simple Starter IoT Devices
IoT devices run the gamut – they can be exceedingly complex, offering a sometimes overwhelming number of options, and they can be exceedingly simple, almost frustrating in how one-dimensional they are. To start, it’s wise for luddites and their like to accrue items on the latter side of the spectrum because they are likely to learn more from limited IoT devices than they would from devices that are more difficult to control.
Fortunately, there are a number of useful and fun IoT devices that fit this bill. Some of the best introductory IoT devices include:
Item Finder. Looking like little more than a keychain, an item finder like Tile connects to the internet, so users can find it – and items connected to it – with the push of a button. Users don’t need a complex smart hub to use most item finders; intuitive smartphone apps do the bulk of the work.
Speaker. An IoT speaker at its simplest connects to devices and plays audio – there is hardly a more cut-and-dry IoT device than that. However, there are more advanced IoT speakers that offer more features, like Amazon’s Echo; these function as smart hubs, through which users can control other IoT devices. It might be useful to acquire a speaker and use it as a speaker until one feels more comfortable integrating more smart tech.
Thermostat. A smart thermostat is the quintessential IoT device. Thermostats like Nest catapulted smart technology into public awareness because they do exactly what most people want from connected tools: They make life easier. While there are more complex thermostats that connect to smart hubs, there are simpler models that rely only on a smartphone app.
Watch. Admittedly, a smart watch is jam-packed with functionality – but that functionality is familiar to anyone who regularly uses a smartphone. Connected watches do nearly everything a smartphone can do but on a smaller, more convenient screen, making them a good jumping-off point for those afraid of devices that lack clear interfaces.
As nervous IoT users gain competency with beginner products, they might consider adding additional devices to their cadre of connected things. It’s a good idea to integrate devices slowly, ensuring that the IoT device is useful and beneficial. This way, users won’t get overwhelmed by too many impractical devices in their home.
Services That Make It Easy
Some users need a bit more help choosing, setting up and managing their IoT devices, especially those with a bit more functionality. Fortunately, users no longer need to rely solely on magnanimous friends and family members; there are premium home tech support services that provide professional aid in using and protecting IoT devices in a variety of ways.
However, before users sign up for any tech support, they should determine what exact services they require. Some considerations include:
Online or in-person? Online or over-the-phone services are less expensive than those that visit a user’s home, but in-person services are more thorough and require less effort and understanding from users.
One-time or continuous? The vast majority of tech services are one-and-done – meaning service providers help users set up their devices, and that’s it. If users need ongoing help, like with device maintenance, they need to search out higher-quality providers.
Security? IoT devices have been plagued by security issues from the start, so all users should look for services that provide enhanced security. It’s wise to invest in services that come from noted security firms.
It’s unlikely that the Internet of Things is going to disappear – especially not with so many tech users fascinated and excited by the latest and greatest connected gadgets. That means even those unfamiliar with tech should start integrating aspects of the IoT into their lives, and the slower and more supported one is, the better.