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Read this before you waste money on another “smart” gadget

Connected lights, appliances, and gadgets for your home sound so great at first. They promise convenience and the thought of owning new cutting-edge tech can be very appealing.

But smart home technology has a long way to go before it’s truly convenient. The more smart devices you own, the harder it can be to get them to all work together.

The problem with smart home devices is a lack of compatibility. Either the devices won’t work with each other or they won’t work with the central hub that’s supposed to control them.

Google Home, Amazon Echo, Apple HomePod – every tech conglomerate has their own smart speaker with a digital assistant that can control your smart devices. Several companies also have smart hubs that connect to apps to control devices as well. There are so many options but not many products work on every platform.

It forces you to choose very carefully. In addition to several options for your control hub, there are several different brands that make smart security systems, lights, thermostats or appliances. Pick the wrong hub and only a few devices work. It would be like buying a new phone only to realize that the operating system doesn’t support popular apps.

The Samsung SmartThings hub is the closest to supporting the most amount of platforms. It supports Android, iOS and Windows apps that control your devices. However, adding devices to Samsung’s hub isn’t as easy to do as it is with an Apple Home. But Apple has never played well with others so the Home only works for Apple devices.

There are high-end smart home systems where every device is the same brand. But these systems are so much more expensive and they eliminate your ability to pick and choose.

So if you haven’t joined the smart home club yet, there’s no rush. You can always start out with a couple of key products as you wait for the industry to either move toward compatibility or create entire systems that are more affordable. For some suggestions, read this tip about the best smart home products.

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