The Internet of Things is expected to make big waves this year, with the number of connected devices predicted to increase massively.
Although IoT products have yet to make major in-roads within the consumer market, there are a few concepts being released later this year that could help kickstart the IoT boom.
Samsung CEO Boo-Keun Yoon claims that all of his company’s products will be connected to the Internet within five years, but the South Korean firm already has a range of smart appliances ready to go.
The company acquired home automation startup SmartThings in August of last year and has some exciting plans for the platform. With the SmartThings hub plugged into your router, you’ll receive home alerts on the Samsung smart refrigerator screen.
Samsung’s range of smart appliances, which also includes a washing machine, tumble dryer, dishwasher, oven and wine cooler, can also use its various sensors to monitor temperature and humidity to make sure your devices work exactly as they should.
While fully-automated self-driving cars may be a few years off yet, cars that are connected to the Internet are much closer on the horizon. By 2020, it is estimated that 90 per cent of vehicles will have connectivity, and Microsoft, Google and Apple have all announced digital automobile platforms earlier this year.
Connected cars offer a number of benefits to drivers, primarily through the vast amounts of data they can collect. By monitoring your driving technique, connected cars can help you to become a better driver, improving safety and lowering the number of accidents that occur on the road.
Volvo’s XC90 car, for example, detects when extreme acceleration or deceleration occurs and transfers this data to the company’s cloud platform. This information is then passed on to future drivers encountering the same stretch of road, so they are more aware of any potential hazards.
A gamified toothbrush
Brushing your teeth can feel like a chore, especially if you’re a child, so it’s important to find ways of getting them interested in their own dental care.
French company Kolibree has developed a smart toothbrush that interacts with smartphone games in order to make oral hygiene more fun. By changing the orientation of your toothbrush, you can move a character in-game, meaning that as children learn to brush their teeth better they’ll earn more rewards.
The Kolibree toothbrush also has features to appeal to older users, including the ability to track and monitor which parts of your mouth you are brushing more often than others. It can also provide oral health tips from dental professionals,
One of the problems facing the Internet of Things is that consumers are likely to say, for example, “My lightbulbs work fine already, why do I need to shell out for ones that connect to the Internet?”
Companies like Connected Cycle are well aware of this issue and have sought to invent devices that can turn existing products into smart products. The Connected Cycle pedal can be added to any normal bike, generates its own energy and comes with its own Internet connection.
The smart pedal, which will begin its Indiegogo campaign soon, can tell the owner where their bike is located or provide a push notification if it is moved, both of which will prove very useful in the event of theft. The device also records bike speed and calories burnt so it’s about fitness as well as theft prevention.
Belty, the smart belt, made a big impression when it was unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show and will hope to build on the hype when it is officially released later this year.
The device aims to monitor and track less well-known health metrics, such as how your waistline changes throughout the day, primarily in response to exercise and eating.
Belty also automatically adjusts itself as you increase and decrease in size using its internal motors, but this does mean it is currently a pretty large and unattractive piece of kit, with the product surely needing some refinement if it’s going to entice consumers.
While an Internet connected belt may seem somewhat ridiculous, it highlights the scale of IoT expansion, whereby any product could soon be online.