Even if you don’t realize it, we are all one step closer to the household of the future as promised to us by the Jetsons and Back to the Futures 2 and 3. While we still don’t have robot maids or hover boards, we are getting close, people. The Internet of Things (IoT) is a real thing and integration into the real-world is happening now. It also changes everything - and brings digital media into all kinds of new spaces and places.
The IoT - a set of technologies that connects the digital world with the real world - is *the* hot new topic in the marketing business. When everything around you becomes a “smart” device, and they are all talking to each other, marketing messages can easily be inserted into the data flow. Then, that data can be collected in the cloud and acted upon – by the manufacturer, by the brand, by the advertiser. Or by you, or your doctor, mechanic, realtor, gardener, and so on.
So, here’s a roundup of the top 10 cool new smart home devices that will soon achieve self-awareness and begin marketing themselves:
1. Nest Themostat
No one was talking about home thermostats until Nest re-invented the wheel. Now, not only can you adjust your home’s temperature using a smart phone app, but with integrated web functionality, Nest can also tell you what the weather is outside, reduce energy use when you’re away, learn to program itself to your desired levels, and save energy and money in the process. Now, people are talking about thermostats.
2. Nest Protect
Building off the success of its themostat, Nest decided to conquer the next least thought-about home appliance: the smoke detector. Instead of a dummy detector that just chirps and buzzes, Nest’s version speaks in a human voice and becomes more sensitive to smoke if there’s a sudden increase in the house’s internal temperature. When you burn a bag of popcorn, simply waving your hand under the Nest will make it stop its alarm.
3. Goji Smart Lock
With Goji, you have the convenience of unlocking your front door with a tap on your smart phone, and the added horror of getting locked out because your phone battery is dead, but apparently will still work when the power goes down.
From Belkin Labs, the WeMo family of devices gives you home automation whether you’re building from scratch or en-smart-ifying existing electrical outlets. With motion sensors and baby monitors, the WeMo system allows you to control any light or device plugged into any outlet with your smart phone app.
5. LG’s Smart ThinQ refrigerator
Sure, it’s a stainless steel French door refrigerator, so it’s already nice, but add a touch screen and wifi capability, and the Smart ThinQ becomes a refrigerator that can tell you what items in your fridge are about to expire, what’s running low, and what you need to make a certain recipe -- and it’s all available on your smartphone app, so you can plan your shopping on the way home from work.
Personal wireless lighting with Hue, a smart 50-Watt bulb that you can dim, brighten or change its color - with your computer or smartphone via your wifi network. One start-up kit from Hue comes with three smart bulbs.
Instead of tackling one home issue at a time like lights or entertainment or power or security, Crestron does them all in one comprehensive home-automation package.
8. Control 4
Another company that offers comprehensive home automation services, Control 4 focuses on seamless media distribution throughout the home. So with a Control 4-powered house, you can feed eight HDMI sources (Blu-ray, cable/satellite, game consoles, etc.) to eight video devices throughout the home in HD. Not too shabby.
A home security system from Comcast, Xfinity offers a 24/7 security system with door & window sensors, motion sensors, a touch screen controller and a wireless keypad.
The only comprehensive smart home system that also includes automation for your solar power arrays, Vivint lets you use your iPad or phone to watch your kids come home from school. Convenient for you, even if it’s creepy for them.