Sep 9, 2014
The industry is all a-buzz over the concept of the Internet of Things (IoT). Cisco did a study last year that sized the opportunity at $14.4 trillion over the next decade, meaning there’s plenty of opportunity for startups and traditional companies to use IoT as a significant growth engine. Over the past few months, though, I’ve noticed in conversations with various people that much of the industry still thinks of IoT as being a future thing, and I think that thought process is just flat-out wrong. Sure, we don’t yet have talking billboards greeting John Anderton in a Minority-Report way. However, there are a number of interesting connected devices that we could all use in our everyday lives right now. Here are five interesting IoT products that I think fit that bill:
1) Refuel smart propane gauge. If you’re like me, you spend a good part of your summer outside cooking on the grill. I’m a big fan of “King of the Hill”, and I know that propane is a clean burning fuel and best for grilling, so I always want to ensure I have enough “propane and propane accessories”. However, I also know that there’s nothing quite as bad as running out of propane when you’re in the middle of grilling chicken, steaks, burgers or choose your favorite food. There’s no need to worry about this anymore as Refuel has created a smart gauge for propane tanks that take the guesswork out of what your propane level is. Now you can check the level on your smartphone when you’re buying your steaks and always make sure you have enough on hand.
2) Rachio smart sprinkler control. If you have an irrigation system at home, you undoubtedly have one of those weird boxes in your basement with a big dial in the middle and a bunch of buttons that make no sense. Changing watering schedules, shutting off a zone or doing anything can be confusing and a big pain. Rachio’s Iro controller shifts control to a graphical interface that’s easy to use and enable control from anywhere.
3) Zepp swing analyzer. If you play golf, tennis or baseball you know that perfecting the swing is a neverending, unreachable process. That’s why amateurs and professionals spend so much time in the batting cage or on the driving range. Even with practice, a swing can quickly disappear and leave one completely perplexed. Ask Tiger Woods or any Red Sox batter this year. Zepp’s Swing Analyzer is a cool multi-sport swing analyzer that gives the user a 3D view of their swing and analyzes it for flaws.
4) Withings connected blood pressure monitor. Many of us, particularly those who travel a lot, have poor dining habits, eat too many airport meals and have high blood pressure. Now lets compound this problem. Let’s say your beautiful, awesome wife, Christine, is also a cardiac nurse. Normally this would be a problem as she’s constantly on my case about checking my blood pressure. But not so anymore! Withings simplifies this by allowing the high blood pressure individual to simply slip on the cuff and turn on the app and measure your blood pressure. Then prepare for the lecture on eating better, but at least you know it’s coming.
5) Goji smart door locks. Ever been at work or on the road and one of your kids calls to tell you, “Dad, I lost my key?” and that they’re locked out of the house after school? That’s probably happened to most of us. So we work around this by hiding keys in places, using magnetic lock boxes or other means of having that emergency key for when this happens. The problem is that kids then lose the emergency key, or give it to a friend and then you need to run out and get more keys cut. Pretty soon there are 100 copies of your house keys somewhere out there so you get paranoid, have a new lock put in and then start the process all over again. Goji has a cool smart lock that can actually take a picture of who the person is and let you unlock the door remotely.
Those were five of the cooler ones that I’ve seen. I’d like to call out one that I find particularly useless and that’s the Egg Minder smart egg tray that can tell you how many eggs you have at any given time. I really don’t see why I would need real-time access to my egg inventory. Nor do I understand why the tray holds 14 eggs when cartons come with a standard of 12. But, for those of you that have mission critical eggs, this may be for you.