The Internet of Things (IoT) – with its network of objects and computers that collect and distribute data on our lives – has all the promise of making those lives easier. But are we in danger of IoT overload?
We live in an interesting age where virtually everything we own can be connected to the Internet. Your phone, television, security system, and car are just the start. These devices may connect directly – through your home Wi-Fi router or via Internet-connected devices such as your smartphone or even your home thermostat.
Our scales report our weight to the Web, our refrigerators generate shopping lists for us, and we wear fitness trackers that send real-time updates about everything – from the number of steps we take to our sleep habits – to the cloud.
Online services like If This Then That (IFTTT) can connect your smart devices to an abundance of services so interesting things can happen. For example, if you meet your goal weight, IFTTT can turn the lights in your house different colors.
But are we going a bit too far with the Internet of Things? My email inbox is littered with Kickstarter and Indiegogo projects that promise to change the world by connecting a commonly inanimate object to your smartphone or Wi-Fi router.
Let’s take a look at just a handful of the products out there that promise to revolutionize the way you live by connecting everyday objects to the IoT.
HydrateSpark Smart Water Bottle
Tired of having to remind yourself that you need water to live? Enter the HydrateSpark, a water bottle that glows when you need to take a sip and reports your water intake to your smartphone.
There is no denying that hydration is important, but do you really need your water bottle to tell you to take a drink?
Apparently, a lot of people do. The HydrateSpark (originally branded HydrateMe) project on Kickstarter raised $627,644, far surpassing its $35,000 goal.
Not interested in a smart water bottle? How about a smart cup? The Pryme Vessel will make sure that you drink your recommended 8 glasses by nagging you through your smartphone and Apple watch, as well as lighting up.
Amazon Dash Buttons
Ordering products with a single press of a button. This is what the Amazon Dash Buttons are all about. Priced at $4.99 a piece, you can place these small buttons around your home so you can order things like trash bags, chewing gum, laundry detergent, mac and cheese, and diapers in an instant.
Alone, these buttons seem ridiculous. Why would you need a button when you can just as easily go online and order the product in a few seconds? The answer is pretty simple: people forget to do things until it’s too late. By putting a diaper button near your changing table, you can press it as soon as you notice you’re running low and have them arrive when you need them.
Inupathy Mental Visualizing Dog Collar
Want to know what your dog is thinking? The Inupathy hopes to enable you to do just that. It tracks your dog’s heart rate and breathing patterns, translates that into an emotional response, and lights up in a color to reflect their emotional state so you know when your dog is excited, calm, concentrating, or happy.
If that isn’t enough, you can feed your pet using your smartphone from anywhere in the world using a PetNet SmartFeeder, an Internet-enabled food bowl.
June: The Intelligent Oven
We spoke earlier about refrigerators being connected to the Internet, but what about an oven? The June Intelligent Oven connects to the Web via Wi-Fi. It contains a full HD camera so you can watch your food cook from your smartphone.
It automatically identifies the type of food you have put in it, calculating things like optimal temperature and time needed to bake.
Your fish aren’t happy with their tank as it is. Just when you thought your fish tank didn’t need to be connected to the Internet, here comes FishBit, a smart monitor that connects your aquarium equipment to the Web.
Control heaters, lighting, and more through your smartphone or Web browser. Get real-time updates on water pH levels, salinity, and temperature.
Are we close to IoT overload?
These devices provide a solution to a problem you may not have even thought existed before. People have cooked food, maintained fish tanks, taken care of their pets, and drank water for many years.
But now – thanks to the miracle of modern crowdfunding – we have a new generation of connected devices that will change the way you live.
It’s quickly getting to a point where it isn’t enough just to have a glass of water. That glass has to connect to the Internet, and report your consumption to a plethora of online services and apps that will, in turn, tell you whether or not you’ve had enough for the day.
This might seem like madness on the surface, but it’s the world we’re entering into. A world where our trash cans tell us when they need to be emptied. Where our refrigerator has a meaningful discussion with out toaster about how often the butter needs to be reordered.
Security concerns aside, the IoT isn’t going anywhere. If anything, it’s ramping up and becoming more a “thing” every day. It’s up to us, the consumers, to make sound decisions about just how much data – or how little – we want to share with the cloud.