Should you shop for smart home products at a discount store, or a specialty store? It’s the question you ask yourself with most every product. Is the level of service, the quality and the support you get from a specialty store worth the money? Only if those aspects of your shopping experience are important to you.

If you’re a plumber, you can buy your sink and faucet at the wholesale plumbing supply store, because you know how to install it and you already have the tools and pipe dope at home. If you’re an electronics whiz and a technophile, you may be able to get away with buying your smart home components a la carte at a store where you can also get snow tires and a haircut. If not, that might not be the best road for you.

A Whole New Audience

Ironically, the appearance of smart home components in discount stores has been a real boon to the industry, because the kind of folks who want a them are not always the kind of folks who frequent specialty electronics stores, just checking out what’s new. They’re at the L-Mart in the homes section buying a new espresso maker, and while they’re making their way out of the store, they notice smart home components.

They may have never seen some of these items before. Or, they may have previously thought these components were for the rich, but if they’re in the same store with slipper socks and magic gloves, they think maybe smart homes are for them after all.

The truth is, smart home products are for everyone. (Well, maybe not your parents, who have been retired for a quite a while now and still use a landline.) But consumers have to be savvy — “connected” homes and “smart” homes aren’t the same, no matter what bargain-basement retailers would have you believe.

Lutron Caséta
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Nest Thermostat
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Samsung SmartThings
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Is it Smart, or Just Connected?

While no government agency regulates the definition of these terms and how they can be used, it is generally accepted that smart home technology is used via the Internet, so that you can control your home’s functions with your phone, tablet or computer. Some products advertised as “connected” are merely individually programmable devices, no different from the thermostat or TV remotes you have now.

If nothing else, these displays in retail stores can get you curious. What is this whole smart home movement about, anyway? And if you want answers, that’s when it’s time to head to a specialty store.

At TYM Smart Homes & Home Theaters, we are the experts in all things smart. And don’t feel dumb if you aren’t familiar with some of the products (or any of them!) and how they work — we are here as the professionals to serve you, the customers. If you are interested in learning more about smart home technology and what it can do for you, stop by and talk to one of our friendly, knowledgeable technicians to start you on the path to an automated home.

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