In a nutshell, the Internet of Things (IoT) is a series of “smart” devices that are connected via the Internet and communicate with each other and with us in order to make our lives easier in some fashion. One example is an alarm clock that wakes you up and then sends a message to your coffee maker to start brewing your coffee.
IoT is still in its infancy stages, so devices can be expensive. However, some devices are affordable for money-strapped college students who want to be a part of this new tech trend and make their lives a little simpler.
Note that all of these products require Wi-Fi and either an iPhone or Android smartphone. These devices also work with “If This Than That,” or IFTTT, which is an app and website dedicated to connecting a variety of different apps.
Roost Smart Battery – $35
This is a 9-volt battery made specifically for smoke alarms and has several functions. It can send notifications straight to your phone when the smoke alarm goes off or when the battery itself is running low. This can help you avoid that ear-piercing beep the smoke alarm makes when the battery is too low.
While the alarm is going off, you can tell the battery if it’s a false alarm and the battery will make the smoke alarm go silent.
Finally, you can manage who has access to the battery, so long as they have the app.
This acts as a middleman to a regular power outlet. You plug the WeMo Insight Switch into your power outlet and then plug anything else you want into the WeMo.
You can then use the app to control the device plugged into it. You can turn the device on or off, monitor the usage, create schedules, receive notifications, and get insight on your energy usage. All from your phone. Forgot to turn the lights off? No problem. Want your heater running when you get home? Easy.
There’s a lot of “smart” light bulbs out there already, but LIFX is one of the top rated and affordable bulbs.
Using a LIFX light bulb, you can use your phone to control the brightness and color of the light with millions of available colors.
You can also save color and brightness settings for easy use, such as a romantic dinner.
The light bulbs are more energy efficient than average light bulbs as well. A 75w light bulb can cost $5-$10 a year, while the LIFX only costs about $1.32 a year (based on using the bulb 3 hours a day).
According to Intel, there were 15 billion devices connected worldwide by the end of 2015. By 2020, the Internet of Things is estimated to include anywhere from 26-200 billion connected devices.
Despite the wide range in estimations, many people and tech companies are saying that the Internet of Things is definitely the next big thing (pun intended) and will sweep across the globe, touching more aspects of our lives than the original Internet ever could, as is evident by just these few devices.