Every day, thousands of everyday devices like washers and dryers, thermostats, home security systems and even baby monitors are connecting and sending data though the internet via a rapidly expanding network known as The Internet of Things, or IoT for short. Here are five examples of IoT devices and systems that can automate everyday tasks and functions in our homes, making them smarter, safer, and more convenient and secure.
Ever get to work and can’t remember if you put the garage door down? Or is “one-burner, two-burner, three-burner, four-burner” just not enough assurance you turned the stove off before you left home? Home hubs by manufacturers like Vivint, Lutron and Samsung SmartThings let you control your home by connecting to IoT devices. Connect a voice-activated device like Amazon Echo to your hub and control your household’s fans, lights, televisions and more with compatible connected devices from major manufacturers like Sony, Samsung and Phillips Hue.
You’re away on vacation and need to let a neighbor in to feed a pet. No problem. Use the app on your smartphone to activate your smart lock to unlock and lock doors remotely, from anywhere. Not sure it’s your neighbor? Check them out first using your home’s front porch IP camera with near unlimited data storage in the cloud. Netgear’s Arlo Pro offers a wireless, weatherproof solution that integrates with Amazon’s Alexa. A burglar is trying to steal your TV? You get a message telling you that someone has unplugged your television. New devices like the Nest Protect smoke alarm can send you alerts over the internet, or even be hushed from your phone.
One of the most popular features of IoT-connected devices is smart thermostats, like Nest, Ecobee and Hive. With a smart thermostat, there’s no more getting up from a cozy sofa to fool around with the thermostat. In addition to allowing you to control your home’s temperature remotely, some of these devices can learn the temperature you like and create a cost-effective schedule based around your lifestyle. A few even integrate with voice-activated systems like Alexa for even more convenience.
Lighting & Illumination
Economical plug-in devices connect between your lamp and wall outlet to deliver the convenience of app-controlled lighting in any room. Smart bulbs, lightstrips and lamps connect to bridges, motion sensors and dimmer switches for easy control from mobile devices. Wi-Fi light bulbs include IP-enabled lights that you can control from any IoT-enabled device, and LED lights that can send data using Visible Light Communications technology, a convenient option when wireless transmissions aren’t possible.
A home Wi-Fi network can connect a wide array of IoT devices for whole-house solutions to control your home’s HVAC, smart locks, cameras, smoke alarms and even small appliances. Many major cable electronics manufacturers offer residential IoT systems, as do many major electronics manufacturers, including Comcast Xfinity, Samsung’s SmartThings Hub, Belkin’s WEeMo, Lowe’s Iris Platform and Apple’s HomeKit.
With the cost of smart devices decreasing each year, the smart home of the future is right around the corner. The current data-driven approach to technology means that our homes will soon become personalized hubs delivering unprecedented levels of convenience. IoT devices will permeate every part of our daily experience from our homes to our offices and forever change our connection with the world around us.
About the author:
Diahann Young is the Director of Digital Platforms and Innovation at Pulte Homes Orlando, one of the largest home builders in Florida and the United States. She specializes in discovering innovative ways of developing products for home building. Her role with Pulte has strengthened her passion for homes, design and all things real estate.