Saturday, June 30, 2012

SMART HOME - a Gimmick Best Avoided

Smart Homes May Not Work in Pune
My Terrible Experience with DIGIHOME

Many Builders in Pune advertise fancy frills in their projects. But remember, it is you who are going to pay for all those fancy things from your pocket and you will be saddled with lifetime maintenance costs too. 

Sometimes, these gimmicks can become headaches, like it happened in my case with the DIGIHOME  high-tech “intelligent home” System which has turned out to be a nightmare and unmitigated disaster. 

These sophisticated systems may work well abroad, or in metros with reliable and good infrastructure, but they are not suitable for a infrastructure-deficient city like Pune which is plagued with erratic electricity supply. 

The DIGIHOME system has not proved robust enough to withstand the frequent and unpredictable power failures on a daily basis which are common in Pune. In our society, Rohan Tarang, the problem has been further exacerbated as the DIGIHOME System fitted here suffers from faulty design, improper installation and lack of trained customer service technicians. 

In a nutshell, the DIGIHOME Smart Home System has proved to be an unmitigated disaster.

Dear Reader, if you are thinking of going in for a Smart Home in Pune, please read the what I wrote about my experience with the DIGIHOME System almost an year ago, so that you don't make the same blunder as we unwittingly did and get conned into a smart home that drives you crazy - yes, the malfunctions will drive you crazy - like geysers being switched on and off without warning, alarms suddenly start ringing for no rhyme or reason, door bell speaker telling visitors that you are out when you are inside. Yes, DIGIHOME is a gimmick gone terribly wrong. Read on....

DIGIHOME – Faulty Design, Erratic Performance, Poor Customer Service, Waste of Money

The aim of DIGIHOME Solutions is to enhance the quality of life. But in actual fact DIGIHOME has made my life miserable as the system is malfunctioning ever since installation more than six months ago.

In brief, I would summarize the problems of the DIGIHOME System as follows:

1. Faulty Design and Improper Installation

There is some basic flaw in the hardware and/or software that causes repeated malfunction of the system. 

Maybe the system is designed to work in Western Countries like USA and Europe where conditions are ideal and there are hardly any electricity power failures or fluctuations but the design is not appropriate or robust enough for Indian conditions. 

In India, and especially in Pune, where the electric power supply is most erratic and fails repeatedly many times a day, the DIGIHOME system trips, resets incorrectly, malfunctions and behaves in a most erratic manner. 

The installation has been done in a faulty manner and this has entailed a lot of rework. 

Wrong RFC Units were installed which had to be changed causing damage to the plaster and the placement of the door unit is incorrect, which serves no useful purpose. 

Basic Safety and Security features do not work or have not been installed, like main door latch security. 

It appears that there was apparently a lack of coordination between the builder Rohan Builders Pune and DIGIHOME Solutions during installation.

2. Erratic Performance
The performance of the system is most erratic. 

Sometimes the doorbell never rings, safety and security features are unreliable, intercom does not work, Local Console trips, system malfunctions, hooters and alarms keep sounding intermittently for no reason  – for example, since last night a continuous shrill noise is emanating from the Console which is most irritating.

3. Poor Customer Service and Clueless Technicians

It seems that the technicians are not properly trained and some of them are quite clueless due to frequent turnover and new faces come every time. 

For the last six months a number of technicians are trying to repair the faults and make the system function properly but without success. 

They seem to be experimenting on a trial and error basis rather that diagnosing defects systematically. 

The response is quite lethargic too and there seems to be a rift between the “blue collar” and “white collar” employees.

In my opinion the DIGIHOME System is a waste of money and serves no useful purpose. In fact, it causes inconvenience and frustration due to erratic performance. 

There is no point investing in futuristic technologies which do not work in local conditions. 

Maybe the infrastructure in Pune (for example, uninterrupted reliable regulated electric power supply) is not geared up for advanced technologies or maybe these futuristic systems for "intelligent" homes like Digihome are not robust enough to work properly in prevailing local conditions.

I wrote this one year ago. There was no improvement and, in fact, the DIGIHOME System started misbehaving so much that we finally shut it down. That is what most residents have done. However, since the system remains connected to the main power supply crazy things keep happening from time to time, like just this morning my geysers got switched off and I had to go down all the way to the DIGIHOME UPS Room and set right the tripped switched. Meanwhile, the customer service technicians have stopped coming as the guarantee period must be over - guarantee for a system that never worked...!!! LOL

Moral of the Story

When you buy a house, avoid fancy frills and gimmicks like smart homes which may give you more pain than pleasure and become a drain on your resources. 
And if you are an investor then what's the point of paying for fancy frills and gimmicks that just increase your cost but do not give you any returns?

Happy House Hunting


Lost and Found said...

There are very few real estate developers in Pune who genuinely make homes for the pleasure of it. Others are simply interested in minting money. There are a handful who believe in their projects, make quality homes and genuinely care about their customers. It takes very little research to zero in on these developers. One might want to invest a little time and do their homework before investing their hard earned money in a project that just won't deliver as promised.

Vikram Waman Karve said...

Yes, Lost and Found, many builders dupe the hapless customers

Avid said...

Ha ha ha ha. ......"video phone tells visitors you are out when you are in..."....looking at the brighter side...this maybe useful to ward off pesky sales ppl, unwanted guests or loan recovery guys LOL..jokes apart, it seems pretty scary if your intelligent aparment locks you in or locks you out.....however, all a common man wants these days is a decent roof over his head....and friendly neighbours around.....

Vikram Waman Karve said...

@ Avid - That's why most "smart" people have shut down DIGIHOME Smart Home

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