Today we have a guest post from Bram Jansen.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is delivering amazing results every year. There is always a new product that can be controlled remotely with the power of the internet, which allows you to take the power of home tech into the palm of your hand.
Here are 7 of the most popular IoT devices to help you understand what most households and businesses are doing with their IoT treasures.
Also known as Alexa, the Amazon Echo system is a smart assistant and voice recognition system. It can look up information based on speech, and can even perform tasks based on input.
The Echo is one of the more popular smart home assistants that lead the way to controlling your thermostat, lighting, smart locks, and other IoT devices in the same way you’d ask it to look up a recipe or read the weather.
There are multiple versions of the Amazon Echo, including the original Echo with an ARM Cortex-A8 processor, the Echo Dot with a hockey puck design, the portable Echo Tap, the camera-included Echo Look, and the 7-inch liquid-crystal display Echo Show.
Each Echo product has its own strengths and weaknesses and can be used in the same home for multiple tasks, or at different locations to customize your IoT flexibility.
The Google Nest system stems from a smart thermostat before Nest was acquired by Google, and it has grown into so much more.
For the thermostat, you can program multiple comfort settings and take advantage of a self-learning comfort optimizer all from the same device. The self-learning part of Nest is all about figuring out your local temperature, humidity levels, weather reports, and the comfort levels you set in order to maintain comfort for you.
It’s not just about comfort, as many people sacrifice some comfort in order to save on the power bill. Energy efficiency is also important, and Nest can be programmed to follow whichever priorities you specify. Whether you want to mix it up manually or let Nest learn its way, you have options.
Philips Hue Lighting Systems
The Philips Hue lighting system allows on/off, dimming, and color controls for multiple lighting products. It’s not just about one or two bulbs in specific locations; with Philips Hue, you can control entire networks, groups, or single lights with specific features.
The most noticeable feature is where the Hue part of the name comes from: the color options. The Hue app allows you to control colors, brightness, saturation, and other appearance details.
Instead of having to pick a specific color or cycle through basic colors, you have a 5-area color wheel with mixing options. There are many creative ways to use Hue outside of replacing your existing lighting, so feel free to start some amazing projects!
The smartphone was an amazing pairing of two things that enable great communications: a phone and a computer. You can talk, text, chat, browse the web, and many other things.
Ring’s Doorbell is a similar combination of two systems that make sense: the doorbell and the camera. Keeping an eye on potential visitors and giving polite visitors a way to get your attention is a good combination.
The Ring Doorbell allows you to see what’s going on at your door, and works similarly to many other smart home camera systems. The camera doesn’t have to be on the door specifically; although the doorbell comes equipped with a built-in camera, you can add additional Ring-branded cameras for a wider network of security.
View great quality videos of the events at your door, add lighting for better night security, and record information as needed. There is even a Ring Neighbors community app to share information with the neighborhood or simply talk shop with global Ring users.
Security is important, and you need to make sure that anything capable of monitoring people is secure—for your safety and the public’s safety. Since Ring is internet-capable, be sure to review some basic web security practices and understand who and what your IoT devices can talk to.
Netgear Orbi Wi-Fi Mesh
Tired of having to dig into your router to figure out complex wireless settings? Looking for something under your control instead of paying your ISP (Internet Service Provider) extra money to manage a Wi-Fi signal?
Enter Orbi, Netgear’s Wi-Fi management system, with multiple ways to control your Wi-Fi. Orbi is about more than making a Wi-Fi network; if you’ve ever had to deal with weak internet signals in certain parts of the home, you know that there are best practices when it comes to network device placement.
The Orbi line of products not only help you figure out where to place your device for the best central coverage, but allow you to easily add more Orbi units when you want to extend your network or create multiple networks across a wider area.
August Smart Lock
The August lock systems allow you to control locks from anywhere.
You can give secure access to family and friends, monitor the coming and going of people in your property, and view other valuable data within the August app. August works with other IoT devices as well, enjoying flexible support with voice assistants such as Siri, Amazon’s Alexa, and the Assistant system from Google.
Rachio is a smart sprinkler system that measures multiple points to deliver targeted, efficient hydration. While lawn and garden are the main use case, there are multiple ways to use Rachio for water delivery.
Rachio can control watering based on daily or weekly schedules. Flex Daily and Flex Weekly can analyze the water needs for those specific gaps of time, and will only need to access the internet based on those updates. This is helpful if you’re handling a large garden or small farm away from home in an area without internet. You can also set up manual water schedules whenever you want.
Rachio measures multiple variable such as rainfall, wind, temperature, and multiple moisture variables. Knowing how to identify humidity and rainfall differences is key, especially when some plants need less water on humid days and may not need full water delivery.
Leakage is always an issue with sprinkler systems, and the Rachio system handles leakage well. Pre-ordered Rachio 3 units came bundled with a water meter that as now sold separately, which will show precision amounts of water delivery–whether it’s intentional or a measured leak. If a leak is detected, Rachio can shut down the water supply until you’re able to attend to the problem.
Multiple watering zones can be programmed as well. If you only want to water a certain part of the yard or want specific watering for specific garden plots, Rachio’s manual buttons can be used for precision programming.
Many of these IoT devices can be used with each other. Security is becoming increasingly important, and systems such as Google IoT devices require specific standards to make sure that only secure, knowledgeable developers are able to connect with their devices easily.
You can take IoT security into your own hands. Make sure that all IoT devices have customizable login access, such as usernames and passwords that can be changed. If you want to stop random hackers and pranksters from connecting to your systems easily, consider getting a Virtual Private Network (check this link, for a solid recommendation) to keep your IoT access secure and even more limited for your personal control.
This list can revolutionize your smart home situation, and many can be modded for even more of a personal touch. If you enjoyed the list or would like to add some details, leave a comment and bring in some great tools.
Bram Jansen is an online privacy expert. He’s been helping businesses secure their information online. When not working, Bram indulges in kayaking and mountain climbing.