The Internet of Things (IoT) is basically a huge network of devices connected by the internet. The tech community has been abuzz with ideas about how to further develop the Internet of Things for the last decade, after more than a decade of lead-up research and development. Thanks to that investment in developing the automation and control over home amenities, appliances like smart home security systems have become relatively commonplace. In commercial applications, granular control over lighting, television, and other appliances has been widely available in luxury hotel accommodations, but as the idea of smart devices has matured, a wave of new products has swept the marketplace. Here are a few of the hottest ideas in 2019.
1. Smart Lighting
If you’ve stayed in a major hotel chain’s flagship offerings, you’ve probably had an introduction to smart lighting. It’s making inroads in the consumer market now thanks to Phillips and the Hue ecosystem, which integrates with most major operating systems to allow users to control the intensity and color of lighting in a room. There are more options out there, but for now, the Hue system is dominating the home market. There is even an all-white option for those who only want control over the intensity of the lights and not the color.
2. App-Controlled Thermostats
One of the longtime promises of the Internet of Things concept has been controlling a home’s lights and heating. Timers for lights and programmable thermostats have demonstrated a demand for finer control over a home’s environmental amenities for decades, and now there are a variety of options coming to the market. Like WiFi-enabled lighting, smart thermostats can be controlled via an app when you are away from home or through a hub system like the Alexa or Google Home. The brand that has been getting the most buzz in this arena this year is Nest, but expect the competition to catch up soon, as more options present themselves to cater to specific niches in the marketplace.
3. Bluetooth Enabled Sneakers
Back to the Future II brought the idea of automatic sneakers to the public imagination, and this year Nike released a line of smart sneakers with Bluetooth integration that has been causing a bit of buzz. While it’s a novel idea, there are some legitimate concerns about security when it comes to wireless communication between devices and the addition of more and more devices present more and more points of vulnerability for hacking. This criticism can be applied widely to smart products, but most of them are confined to the home and accessed through an app account, not directly connected to your device. That makes these sneakers a little different.
It’s anyone’s guess what comes next for these products. With the combination of home security, temperature, and lighting, most of the early promises about this concept are already in place. Will we see refrigerators with automatic reordering enabled? It’s one more early myth used to create buzz around the concept, and in a world where you can connect your shoes to your phone, it’s easy to imagine something that fantastic coming to the market soon.