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Affordable IoT Gadgets

Posted by cfeehan on July 7, 2016

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Welcome to part two of our Internet of Things (IoT) summer series! A couple of weeks ago, we talked about the new IoT hub coming to Kitchener and explained the idea of the IoT: that it wirelessly connects everyday objects to a vast network using sensors, and that these objects can then be controlled using smartphones and other devices. This week, I’m discussing a bunch of affordable IoT products you can find on the market today that will make your life easier. Read on if you’re a fan of comfort and convenience!

Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm 

As a law-abiding citizen of Ontario, you’re required to have at least one smoke detector installed on every floor of your house, as well as one carbon monoxide detector. But that doesn’t mean that your devices have to be boring! The Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm does everything a regular smoke alarm and CO alarm would do, but updates and alerts are sent to your phone so that data is easily accessible right away. Plus, this is an easy way to monitor your house if you’re not at home. 

My favourite thing about the Nest Protect is that you can shut the smoke alarm off using your phone if it accidentally goes off while you’re cooking! Do you understand how many panicked sprints to the fire alarm this will save you? No more waving a towel at an oversensitive and outdated device – what are we, cave people? This device offers a much-needed upgrade, and given that it’s priced at only $99 USD, I may be swayed to trade up.

Bolt by Lockitron

This device is simple: you install it in place of your regular deadbolt locks, and it’s ready to provide keyless entry right out of the box. Your smartphone works as the digital “key” to the device, but the cool thing is that you can program it to unlock as soon as you arrive home. Gone are the days of fumbling around for keys while holding six grocery bags and a coffee – now, you can just walk up to your door, and it will unlock automatically. The app connected to the device also alerts you every time someone opens your door, and lets you lock it from anywhere in the world, so you’ll never have to worry that you’ve left the door unlocked ever again. The Bolt comes in at $99 USD, but the peace of mind that comes along with it is priceless.

Sen.se Mother

If you’re a parent, you probably know the feeling of wanting to be everywhere at once so that you can make sure everything is running smoothly and that your family is safe and comfortable. Mother, a revolutionary device by Sen.se, essentially allows you to do just that. It consists of a central hub (which is smiley and adorable) and four “motion cookies”, which you can attach to a variety of household items. You can use these “cookies” to track when your children get home from school, when the front door is opened, whether you’re taking your medication on time, if you’re drinking too much coffee or too little water…the list goes on. Then, of course, all of the collected data is sent to your smartphone, where you can review it, track it, and set goals. The Mother comes in at $299 USD. Watch it in action below!

Sen.se Peanuts

These devices are from the same company as the Mother, but they’re much smaller and more affordable. The Peanuts are individual buttons that have individual uses, like monitoring sleep quality or making sure you don’t lose your wallet. There are eight different kinds of Peanuts, and they’re all super useful. However, the peanut “Button” is my personal favourite, as it can be customized to do a million different things. As shown in the video below, you can set it up to remotely turn your lights off (no more getting out of bed required!), start household appliances (like coffee makers), and more, all with one click. Plus, you can program three actions per button, so they’re multifunctional. 

The Sen.se Peanuts only cost $29 USD each – a steal for such a handy little device!

Garageio

This one is another simple but useful invention. In short, it allows you to open and close your garage doors using your smartphone, and will alert you if they’re ever left open. You can also grant access to the few people who need it, which eliminates the worry that your passcode will fall into the hands of someone who shouldn’t have it. A secure house is a happy house, and that’s what Garageio gives you. The unit comes in at $199.00 – $219.00, depending on how many garage doors you’d like to hook up.

Flower Power

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Are you an avid gardener who has always wondered what your plants really want? Lucky for you, they can now tell you with the help of the Flower Power device by Parrot!

I know what it sounds like, and no, this device cannot translate the feelings of vegetation into English (although I’ll be sure to recommend that to Waverly Labs). It actually assesses the needs of your plants based on sunlight and moisture levels, as well as other factors, then sends alerts right to your smartphone if any action needs to be taken, like watering or repotting. This is an easy way to avoid distressed plants, which will make you a happy camper too.

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The Flower Power device is priced at $59.99 USD.          

Honeywell Lyric Round Wi-Fi Thermostat

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I feel like this is what the visionaries had in mind when they dreamt up the idea of a “smart home”. The Honeywell Lyric thermostat allows you to adjust the temperature and humidity of your house from your phone, but it doesn’t stop there. It also knows when you’re out of the house and changes the temperature accordingly. If you aren’t home, it won’t waste energy (and your money) heating or cooling the house. Then, when you get close to home, the system will kick in again and return to your desired temperature. Come on, that is a smart home. This thermostat system goes for $229 USD.

Well, Execufans, now you know what the Internet of Things is all about. You’ve met some of its biggest products and brand names, and now it’s in your hands to decide whether you’re interested in designing your home to be just as smart as you.

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Caitlin Feehan, Blogger & Editor


Converse have been my footwear of choice for the past 9 years, I’m convinced that all doors and sidewalks are conspiring against me, and I enjoy sticking my head out of the passenger window on long car rides.