The Internet of Things (IOT) is a hot topic. Especially within in the IT community. It is changing lives by making it easier, more sustainable and fun! IOT is all about gadgets and I have to admit, I am a sucker for gadgets. I love to follow what goes on in the world of IOT, which is a LOT. That’s why I decided to share some of my favourite IOT devices that recently entered the market, focused on home improvements. Get ready to make your home a smart one.
So what is the IOT exactly?
For the ones who are new to the concept of IOT, you might want to know what IOT is all about before we start narrowing it down to home improvements. Simply put, IOT is the concept of connecting basically any device with an on and off switch to the Internet. It is the interconnecting of computing devices embedded in everyday objects via the Internet. This connection enables objects to exchange data, which again creates opportunities for improving how you live your life, for example at work or at home. Easy right?
So here’s a thought: what if you were able to connect every single device within your home to the world wide web. Not just your iPhone or your laptop, but EVERYTHING. Your sound system, your heating, lighting, security cameras, shower and even your doorbell. Connecting them to the Internet is one thing, but what if all of these devices could use this connection to communicate with each other? To send you information? And listen to your orders? Sounds like a dream? It’s not. Nowadays, this is reality. This is the Internet of Things. This new reality has created the fundamentals of smart homes; a home equipped with devices that can be controlled remotely through the Internet, by either using your smartphone or computer.
At the moment, there is a significant amount of companies and products on the market within this space of smart homes. Some of the leaders would be the Amazon’s Alexa (also known as Echo), Google’s Home, and Next (a smart thermostat created by two former Apple Engineers). But since the release of these products, there have been much more gadgets or systems brought into the market that all fit into the IOT bubble. So, let’s have a look at some IOT developments I like a lot!
Microwaves ordering popcorn for you
Ever thought some devices are so simple, that they don’t need to be connected to the Internet to be made easier? Well, think again. In line with their Alexa-connected devices, Amazon has recently released the AmazonBasics microwave that can be controlled with, what else, Alexa. Yes, a microwave with WiFi is real. The microwave allows you to cook your food without having to think about how long (Alexa will do this for you) and even has Dash replenishment services inside. So if you’re low on popcorn for instance, you can easily order more. The AmazonBasics Microwave isn’t actually the very first microwave with such control (brands like GE, Samsung and LG have created such microwaves before), but it’s the first Amazon-branded one.
Photo credit: UPRIGHT
No need for yoga with these devices
(Desk) sitting is the new smoking they say, and a lot of us know a bad posture resulting in back, neck and shoulder pain. But these smart posture trainers are here to save your back! These wearable devices like Upright Go, Lumo Lift and Nadi X Tights are able to track and train your posture, and will give you a gentle reminder when you slump back into a slouch. Some devices also encourage movements and measure steps taken and calories burned. All data is being stored and shown in apps connected to the devices, so you can easily keep up-to-date on your posture performance. Does that mean that we can skip our weekly yoga class to stay healthy? I guess not. But it definitely helps!
Taking your sleep to a whole new level
Did you know that many of us fall asleep faster if your feet are gently warmed? I guess that’s why I am always wearing socks in bed...Anyway, now there is a bed that actually does this for you! The Sleep Number 360 Smart Bed knows several features that are designed to keep you (and your partner) sleeping blissfully, including the possibility to pre-warm each side of the bed. The bed uses Responsive Air technology to sense your body movements and adjusts to it by for example making your bed firmer. The technology integrated in the bed has the ability to track your sleep performance, which is connected to an app on your phone providing you a so called Sleep IQ every morning.
Photo credit: Amazon
Ultimate energy savers
Alright, the last one but definitely not the least: one of the easiest ways to make your home smart is by using Smart Plugs. They’ve been around for a while, but are now taken to the next level. Smart Plugs really up your IOT game, putting a digital assistant in literally every room of your house. These cheap devices work in a very similar way as other smart power supplies, enabling users to activate the connected devices remotely. Either through an app or via voice control, as well as set timers. Because smart plugs are very affordable (the new Amazon version will only cost around $40 to $50), anyone with a smartphone can get in on the convenience of smart home technology.