What is the Internet of Things?
You might be wondering, what exactly is this Internet-of-Things you keep hearing about? Recent advances in technology mean that small devices like watches, clocks, alarms, TVs, light switches, electrical plugs, (i.e. “things”) can all connect to the internet. Adding connectivity to these Internet of Things (commonly abbreviated as IoT) devices means they can send data continuously to the cloud and to your smartphone. It also means IoT devices can be controlled by commands sent through the internet from PCs and smartphones. These new functionalities mean a whole new class of devices, like the Seinfeld alarm clock that tells you the weather, are now possible.
Just the Beginning: Hot Internet-of-Things Devices Available Today
Now that technology lets us connect just about everything to the internet, a slew of products are coming out to help consumers make their lives safer and easier. Just to provide you with some examples of what an IoT device is, here are some of the hottest Internet-of-Things products out there right now are:
Hook Home Automation Kit – Hook takes some simple plugs that can be controlled with a remote and converts them so they can be controlled via the internet. This product is my personal favorite IoT device as it provides a lot of functionality at a low price point. Products like Hook can drastically reduce “vampire energy” usage, which helps reduce the use of fossil fuels that contribute to climate change. Help fund their IndieGoGo project!
Nest Learning Thermostat – A Wifi device that controls your home thermostat to optimize both comfort and energy savings.
Nest Smoke Alarm + Carbon Monoxide Monitor – A smoke alarm that sends an alert to your phone when it detects smoke.
Scout Alarm Home Security System – Home security system that allows you to monitor and control your home security from anywhere at anytime with a smartphone app.
Roost Smoke Detector Smart Battery – 9V Battery you can install in any traditional smoke detector, which will notify you via a smartphone app if your alarm is going off.
Wemo Switch Smart Plug – A Wifi device that enables you to turn power on and off to a plug in your home using your smartphone.
There are a lot more IoT products out there, and this is just the beginning. While some of these products carry hefty price tags right now, the cost of this technology will continue to go down and its almost inevitable that everything from you lamps to your coffee maker will be connected to the internet in the future.
The Internet of Things, Big Data, and Cities of the Future
But IoT technology doesn’t just mean you can start your coffee maker from your bed while you’re still getting up. For businesses and governments, it means that collecting large volumes of data from the physical world is cheaper and easier than ever before. New companies, like Google’s Intersection, want to use this data to help city governments make better decisions for public safety and well-being. The applications of the Internet-of-Things seem endless, and it’s poised to be the next big growth engine for the tech economy.
Can I Use IoT Devices to Make My Life Easier?
To the average person it might seem like these new technologies are happening in a high-tech bubble. There are a number of cool IoT devices being sold, but many of them might seem unaccessible due to high price tags. Fortunately you’re here at SimpleIOThings, where you can learn to make IoT devices that cost about $10 dollars. These devices can tell you when your smoke alarm is firing, when your fridge door is open too long, or send messages at the push of a button. Head over to the “Get Started” page to learn about how to start using the Internet-of-Things to make your life easier.