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A Guide to Troubleshooting Smart Devices and The Internet of Things

You can’t open a magazine, got a web site, or attend an event these days without hearing the term Internet of Things or IoT. Seems like today everything can or should be connected. Nice idea, but what does it mean if you’re thinking about security?

Open standards
To start, you should know that any kind of IP-based video surveillance and physical access control devices such as security cameras and door controllers are in fact IoT devices (in fact, we invented what many call the first IoT device 20 years ago when we launched our first network camera, but that’s another story). These connected devices offer non-proprietary and open standards allowing users to integrate them with other devices and software as they wish and without restrictions.

The further adoption of IoT will drive this integration beyond currently separate device categories. There is a huge opportunity to manage multiple systems with just one management console. From smoke and gas sensors to video surveillance, physical access control, loudspeakers, air conditioning, and heating, escalators, and elevators to window shades, light switches, and automatic doors – all these devices can be managed together with the IoT.
Internet of Security Things.

From a security standpoint, IoT is more than just cameras. For example, Axis introduced what is best described as an IoT loudspeaker in March of 2015. It can be integrated with just about anything. You can even assign it a phone number and make announcements through making respective calls to that number.

A quick primer on how something like that works: it is a self-contained loudspeaker that offers signal transmission, decoding, amplification, microphone, and speaker all in one unit. Unlike analog loudspeakers, there is no need for a separate amplifier. An external power supply is also not required, thanks to Power over Ethernet (PoE) support. It can, therefore, be very flexibly installed as an extension to existing security systems allowing operators to deter unwanted activity without having to send a security guard to the scene, for example.

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This is just one example of a new breed of security products. We are seeing the beginning of what is probably best named the “Internet of Security Things.” Open standards will allow previously separate device categories to be used together and accessed via a single management console. This will make security systems easier to use while providing better situational awareness and overviews of incidents.

Step 1 – Google

If you are encountering a problem, odds are the answer can be found using a search engine. Start here first!

Step 2 – Look for Clues on the Device Itself

Many smart devices will have flashing lights or other indicators when something goes wrong. This can provide clues to what is going on.

Step 3 – Check the App for the Device

Most smart devices have a corresponding app for a smartphone. This app can usually detect when the device is malfunctioning and give you tips to restore functionality.

Step 4 – Turn It Off and On Again

Yes, this may seem cliché, but turning your device off and on again may fix the issue! It only takes a minute or two, so you might as well give it a try.

Step 5 – Check the Power Source

If your smart device would not turn off and on, there’s probably something wrong with the power source. Make sure the device is really getting power, either from a battery or power cord.

Step 6 – Dig Out the Instruction Manual

If you still have the instruction manual for the product, now would be a good time to get it out. There’s usually a helpful troubleshooting section near the back. The instruction manual will contain information on how to reset the device, too.

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Step 7 – Check your Wi-Fi Connection

If your device connects to Wi-Fi, make sure your Wi-Fi router is working. You can easily test this by seeing if other devices connect to the Wi-Fi. Try going to some different websites as a test. If your Wi-Fi isn’t working, try unplugging the router and plugging it back in.

If that doesn’t help, connect your computer to the wall with an ethernet cord. If you still can’t access the internet through the ethernet cord, contact your internet service provider.

Step 8 – Reset the Device

If nothing has worked, you can try to reset the device back to factory default settings.

Caution! This will remove all your settings and should only be done as a last resort. You will need to go through the device set up process all over again.

If you have the instruction manual, it should say how to reset the device. If you don’t have the instruction manual, search the internet for the factory reset process.

Step 9 – Contact the Experts

If you have tried every single one of these steps to no avail, it’s time to bring in the experts. There may be a hardware issue with your smart device. Check the device manufacturer’s website for help with warranties and repairs.

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