The IoT is regarded by many as the next big thing to allow us to further merge the digital and physical world in industry and our homes. The Ape has been “geeking-out” all week to bring you a concise list of the most popular IoT devices available today so that you can stay just ahead of the curve!
What is the Internet of Things?
The Internet of Things (IoT) is a term that relates to billions of physical electronic devices around the world that are connected to the internet. This allows the devices to collect and share data.
These days, processors are so cheap to manufacture that it’s possible to turn anything, from a pencil to a luxury yacht, into part of the IoT. This allows your devices to communicate with each other without the need for you to be involved.
The IoT has the potential to change the way we live and work. It’s obviously hugely complex so we’ll keep it simple. Broadband Internet’s coverage is colossal and the price of connection continues to come down, more devices are being made with WiFi & sensors built into them, and as tech costs go down and smartphone use goes up, the “Internet of Things” is here to stay!
If you are still a little confused, just think that any device with an “on” and “off” switch can be connected to the internet (and/or to any other devices). This includes everything from smartphones, refrigerators, tumble dryers, speakers, lights, activity trackers, and just about anything else you can imagine. The same also applies to parts of larger machines, for example, an engine of a cargo ship or the opening of floodgates. If the device has an on / off switch, it will probably be a part of the IoT.
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The future of the IoT
It is predicted that by 2020, there will be at least 26 billion connected devices but some estimates are much higher…some as high as 100 billion. The IoT is a massive network of connected “things” (including humans) allowing relationships between people & people, people & things, and things & things.
We are on the brink of a smart-home explosion with an ever-growing number of smart device consumers. A recent study by Intel Corporation found that 71% of people asked expected to see at least one smart-home device in every home by 2025 and around 68% were confident that smart homes would become as normal as smartphones within the next five to ten years.
Whether you’re on the hunt for a clever home lighting solution, or trying to make your crib into something from the movie “Blade Runner“, we’ve found the best and most popular IoT devices available for your home.
Here’s our list of the most popular iot devices available today…back to menu ↑
There are so many cool smart home devices available today, it’s not easy to choose just one but if you do, the Amazon Echo is hard to beat. It’s connected by the cloud and controlled solely by your voice which makes it very easy to use.
The latest version of the Alexa-controlled Echo speaker continues to widen its music, smart-house, and digital-helper features. First and foremost, it’s a wireless speaker, but that’s just the start!
Using only your voice, you can search through playlists, play music, search the internet, make shopping lists, shop, get the latest weather reports, and control all of your connected smart-home gadgets without even touching your phone!
The Nest is next in our list of the most popular IoT devices because it can help with controlling your energy consumption (which will reduce your utility bill) and provide the perfect temperature for your home or workplace.
While you can easily control the Nest from your phone, this smart thermostat is so smart that you don’t even need to do that! The Nest remembers the different temperature settings you input during the day and using the motion sensor & GPS functions of its app will change its program based on your individual schedule.
The Nest thermostat can also control your hot water, too. The self-learning function calculates what time the heating needs to come on to reach your required temperature there is also a cool feature that switches off your heating if no one is at home!!!back to menu ↑
Amazon Dash Button
Amazon Dash Buttons are a great device that promises to revolutionize the way we shop. You have to buy the buttons but you get this amount deducted from your first Dash order, making them essentially free!
Amazon Dash Buttons are really simple, single button units that can be hung or attached anywhere you like around your house. When connected to a WiFi network and pressed, they order an item from Amazon.
Just place these tiny devices strategically around your home, so you can effortlessly order more toilet paper while you have a no.2, stock up on pop-tarts over breakfast, or even keep your supply of Red Bull fully stocked while you work out in the garage!!! Each button is individually branded reflecting the device’s singular purpose. There are literally 100’s of supported brands for Amazon Dash including all your favorites; Huggies, Gillette, Mountain Dew, Colgate, Playtex, and Trident.
The Dash button is only available for Amazon Prime members. As Amazon has all of your shipping details on file, you only need to press the button, and the linked product will be delivered straight to your door.
There is now also a Dash Wand which is basically a food scanner with Alexa capabilities thrown in. Just tell the wand what you want, or you can physically scan the item you need, and the wand will add the item to your Amazon shopping cart (plus, it’s basically free because you get the purchase price of the wand deducted from your first purchase).
The Dash Wand costs around $20 and comes with full Alexa support. Just like the Amazon Echo, you are able to ask the virtual assistant for any information that your heart desires. You can also speak to the Dash Wand to order your favorite items. For example, you can say, “Alexa, order Trojan condoms.” Or, “Alexa, reorder protein powder.”back to menu ↑
Rachio WiFi Smart Lawn Sprinkler Controller
As we enter summer season again and begin thinking of our gardens, how about a connected sprinkler controller? This device hooks up to your existing sprinkler system or can be added to any new system that you have planned.
The Rachio is one of the most popular IoT devices and best connected sprinkler controllers available today. But why do you need one? The biggest reason is to help save money on your water bill. In some cases, this device can save you a small fortune, while also making your garden look beautiful.
Another awesome reason to grab yourself a connected sprinkler controller is to do your bit for the environment. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has recently included the Rachio in its prestigious list of water-efficient products!!!
You can control Rachio by the app or another smart home controller, like the Amazon Echo. Rachio states that their system works with Amazon Echo, Wink, Nexia, SmartThing, Nest and a couple of others. Recent additions to its compatible devices are the Google Home and the Samsung SmartThings connected hub.back to menu ↑
Schlage Z-Wave Connect Camelot Touchscreen Deadbolt
The Schlage Connect is a great choice for smart-lock noobies. It’s simple to use and the installation process is just as easy as using the lock. It’s also very reasonably priced compared to its competitors.
The lock has a resistive touch screen which is designed to prevent dirty marks so the keypad will never be covered in grimy fingerprints. The keypad is child’s play, with an indicator that flashes green when things are ok, and red when things go wrong.
Schlage locks are suitable for almost every door. All you need is a Philips-head screwdriver and a measuring tape. The whole process should take no longer than 30 minutes to have it properly installed.
The Z-Wave is able to store up to 30 codes at a time so that you can give family members, buddies, and even the pool boy access to the lock. It has a very loud alarm with three different sensitivity options.
The Connect uses four AA batteries that last for about a year but total peace of mind is provided by an alert that goes off well in advance of the batteries dying. It’s certified ANSI/BHMA Grade 1 (the highest possible rating) and comes with an anti-pick shield to protect against any nearby “crack addicts” that might be after your goodies!back to menu ↑
Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor
If (heaven forbid) your cat or dog ever escapes your home, a good pet GPS pet tracker can save its life. The Whistle 3 GPS Pet Tracker & Activity Monitor is our pick of the IoT devices for pet owners.
The Whistle 3 as super-quick and highly accurate in tracking your lost pet and has one of the longest-lasting batteries in its class so when you need it, it’s gonna have enough juice if Rover get outs and you will be able to find him without any extra recharging.
If you are a cat or dog owner, you’ve probably worried about your animal friend running away on more than one occasion. Microchipping the animal can help get back your lost pet, but in recent years, many electronics companies been using the same tech as we have in our smartphones to keep tabs on our cats & dogs.
The Whistle 3 has built’in WiFi as well as Bluetooth, GPS, and 3G cellular data. When you first switch on the pet tracker, you can use that to set up “home zones” for your animal. If your cat or dog moves outside the zone, you’ll get an alert straight to your smartphone and using the Whistle’s cellular connection, you will be able to determine the precise location of your furry friend.
Location information is detailed on the excellent Google Maps and it lasts well over seven days on a single charge (with some users reporting up to 10 days before they need to top-up the battery.)
The Whistle has lovingly been called the “Fitbit for dogs” due to its activity monitoring functions. The unit can send back activity data to your phone every hour. Its main purpose is to track how active your pet is and how long it spends resting. You can then look through the Whistle database to find out how your critter compares to pets of a similar age and breed.
So get your k9 or feline on the “Internet of Pets”……(kidding!)……”Internet of Things”….and keep them safe!!!
If you enjoyed this article, you might also like “THEY LOOK COOL BUT DO ROBOTIC LAWN MOWERS ACTUALLY WORK?” from our “TECH” section.