If you love technology and gadgets, you probably are aware of the concept of the Internet of Things (IOT). The idea is that many mundane objects around your house – refrigerators, light bulbs, kitchen appliances etc. – can connect to the internet using technologies like Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Near Field Communications (NFC). More and more users are buying into the hype, the convenience and the cool factor of the connected home. While a smart refrigerator that emails me when low on milk, or a dryer that can be activated remotely while I am at work sound appealing, my aspirations with the IOT are simpler. Focusing on cost, and ease of use, I have identified three cool gadgets that I would like to buy this year to make my home smart and connected.
Here they are.
Belkin WeMo Insight Switch: A light switch that can be turned on or off with a remote control is probably not a very novel idea to many. However, when the range of that remote control spans the globe, it gets interesting. Belkin’s series of Wi-Fi connected switches give you the ability to turn your home appliances on or off remotely and program them to adhere to a schedule, or react to sunrise/sunset or other weather conditions. When combined with the WeMo motion sensor, the device can be programmed to detect movement around your house and turn lights or appliances like your coffee machine on. Managed through the WeMo app on IOS and Android, it is fully compatible with “If This Then That (IFTTT)” app, allowing you to get creative with your settings. At $60 CDN, Belkin’s WeMo Insight Switch gets you started on your journey to IOT and a connected smart home!
Philips Hue Mobile apps that manage wireless speakers, security cameras, and media players like Apple TV have been around for a while. You can now add smart bulbs to that list! Philips Hue connected bulbs, help you smarten up your home by giving you the ability to manage your connected lamps using an app on your mobile device. The technology leverages your Wi-Fi router to connect the bulbs to the internet, allowing you to control and manipulate them from home or other remote locations. When combined with the aforementioned IFTTT app, the Hue gives you a number of playful options that can be used to impress your guests. The Hue starter pack (wireless bridge and three bulbs) is pricy at $200 CDN. However, if you combine, the company’s claim of fifteen year-life and the potential savings in energy, you may still be able to justify the return on your investment.
Nest: A smart thermostat is not what comes to most people’s minds when they consider jumping on the IOT bandwagon. But, from a connected home perspective, it probably makes the most sense. Specifically it is smart, affordable, environmentally friendly and is owned by Google. Referred to as the “learning thermostat” Nest tracks your preferences, over a period of time, and adjusts the settings without manual intervention. Web access to the device lets you control the device from any part of the world to make sure that you are not wasting energy while away. At $249 CDN, it is not the cheapest thermostat that you can buy, but may be the coolest!
Now to convince my wife that I am not throwing good money away for a bunch of new toys…