What is the Internet of Things and why is everyone talking about it? Simply put, the Internet of Things refers to gadgets and household appliances that can be connected to WiFi so that you can make 'em do stuff with your smartphone. Turn on lights, adjust thermostats, check on the baby—all these things and more can now be controlled via the smartphone in your pocket.
So how is the Internet of Things shaping up to make home life simpler?
Here are five key trends worth knowing about.
Cooking is Getting Easier
More and more cooking appliances are getting tied into WiFi. Lynx is making a smart grill that responds to user voice commands and can be heated up via your smartphone, which is handy if you're pre-heating it when you have company over and are delayed at the office. Crock Pot is also getting in on the act with an app that lets you turn their products on and off remotely.
Health Tracking is Getting More Exact
We thought we were big walkers until we started using a FitBit. That's the thing about activity trackers—they keep you honest. And there are a number of health-related devices for your home to compliment your activity tracker, like smart scales, sleep monitors, air quality testers, and the next generation of workout machines.
Security is Getting Tighter
There are a number of smart locks in the marketplace now that'll allow you keyless entry to your home, alert you when family members get home, let you temporarily grant entry rights to other people (say, a neighbour who is checking up on your cat while you're away), and remotely control access to your home. Did you forget to lock the door? Just check your smartphone. On top of that, there are more WiFi enabled cameras on the market now, and they'll let you look in on things from work. Or, say, a beach in Puerto Vallarta.
Comfort is Getting Easier
Lights, thermostats, speakers, TVs, and more are all being connected to WiFi and packaged with apps that put control of your environment in your pocket. Does that sound lazy? Well, we're fine with it. Turning the thermostat up or down from your smartphone during a lazy Sunday in bed sounds great to us.
Your Home is Getting Smarter
Speaking of thermostats, did you know heating systems consume the majority of energy costs Canadians are spending? Smart thermostats are proven to decrease energy usage by at least 10%, and that's just the beginning. As more of your devices get attached to your network you get better data about energy usage. There are now systems on the market like the Smappee energy monitoring system that track how much energy you're using, which appliances are using it, and when usage is happening, and you can use that information to make smarter choices.
The beauty of all these devices is that they put total control of your home—even when you're not inside of it—into the palm of your hand via your smartphone. Life gets simpler—which is exactly what we want.