With 2015 being dubbed by many as the year of IoT (Internet of Things), consumers began to wonder what all the fuss was about and how this new wave of connected technology would seep into their daily lives. Could a fridge really re-order a pint of milk? Could a car actually drive safely without a driver?
These concepts are fast becoming a reality, so which smart or “connected” objects can we expect to see on the shelves this year? Here are five of the coolest, quirkiest products on (or about to launch onto) the market:
1. Stay connected in style. The Altruis wearable technology necklace from Vinaya looks just like any other necklace, but uses bluetooth to connect with your smartphone, allowing you to carry out everyday tasks or receive notifications. For example, whilst in a business meeting the necklace can discreetly alert to your next meeting without you having to continually glance at your watch or the clock on the wall. When out enjoying yourself at a party, the necklace can vibrate when it’s time to go home. Aimed at women on the go, according to the manufacturer, this smart accessory will “subtly help you stay on track while exuding timeless style”. The price tag is hefty, but it’s a great gadget nonetheless.
2. Animal dining at its finest. Have you ever struggled to find someone reliable to feed your cat while you go on holiday? Are you worried that other cats may be stealing their food? Innovative pet tech company CatFi claims to have a solution to this problem with the CatFi Pro, essentially an automatic pet feeder with stringent controls to monitor what your cat is eating. The device uses facial recognition and can also monitor the weight of your pet. Using your smartphone you can track the diet history of your cat as well as accessing real-time surveillance of your pet during meals.
3. Snug as a bug. For those of us who get too hot, too cold, or generally irritable in bed, there’s now a smart bed in the making which ‘learns’ your sleeping habits. The technology incorporates sensors which monitor the bed temperature, room humidity, time you go to bed, time you fall asleep, amount of movement, heart rate, noise levels, lighting levels, local weather etc etc, so you’ll never lose a wink of sleep again.
4. One lump or two? A modern take on the traditional teasmaid, the iKettle can be controlled from your smartphone. Ok, so a connected kettle isn’t necessarily a kitchen essential, but it will mean that you can set your kettle from anywhere in the house – in bed, in front of the television, or even in the garden. The iKettle can even be programmed in advance to warm up ready for when you wake up in the morning.
5. Singing in the rain. If you’re prone to leaving your belongings behind in public places or just not sure what the weather is up to (i.e. anybody reading this in the UK) then the Oombrella may be able to help. The smart umbrella sends local bad weather alerts to your smartphone and can also notify you if it has been left in a restaurant etc. The smart technology is discreetly hidden within the handle and the plastic parasol sports a holographic finish. Watch this space.