Whenever something goes wrong with technology, I often blame the technology first. However, in many cases, the real issue is how the technology was set up. I’ve worked with many clients who complain about new technology. They claim not to notice improvements. And in some cases, they even insist things are worse. Often, the configuration or set up, is the real culprit.
Recently, we hired an elite-status, Google-approved tech to install a Google Nest Thermostat. This was my first experience with a smart home device. Initially, the installation seemed successful. We downloaded apps. Then set it up from our smartphones.
Hours later, the house was freezing. We thought it was because we hadn’t set the temperature high enough. We quickly realized the furnace was not connecting with the Google Nest. This, despite the Nest giving us temperature readings and estimates of how long it would take to heat up. After 3+ hours chatting with Google tech support, trouble shooting and trying different things, we discovered the main issue. Our furnace required some electrical “tweaking” to be compatible with the Nest.
We were shocked! Checking compatibility between the furnace and the thermostat should have been the first step. Additionally, after installing the thermostat, the technician never confirmed if the furnace went back on. It hadn’t. Instead, he relied completely on Google Nest to let him know if there was a problem. Basic human errors. We went out shortly after the installation so we didn’t notice right away.
After exhausting all our options, we ended up re-installing the old thermostat. Within minutes we heard the familiar, and welcome, clanking of the furnace firing up.
Strategies for Using Technology Successfully
I always recommend listing your needs before looking for a technology-based solution. People are often seduced by fancy technology without even knowing if it’s a good fit for what they need.
Another strategy is to set time aside to plan and configure technology properly. I personally find that I always need more time than I think to set things up. For example, even going through all the settings on my new phone has taken me days.
Understand that success depends on a combination of human-based effort and technology. In other words, don’t solely rely on technology. Had that silly tech covered the basics, (e.g., compatibility and the furnace turning on) we wouldn’t have spent so much time later.