The Internet of Things & You
In 2011, the IoT Council decided to celebrate April 9 as the ‘Internet of Things’ day. Since then, the date has served as an opportunity for everyone in the industry to celebrate the evolution of IoT. But what is IoT? Simply, the abbreviation is an umbrella term for multiple technologies that enable devices and gadgets to exchange data over a network to create a connected environment. So, if you’ve heard of the concept of a “smart home” where everything can be
IN THE BEDROOM…
You wake up refreshed in the morning, thanks to the Sleep Number 360 SmartBed (starts at $1,400) and the Zeeq Smart Pillow ($200 apiece).
The bed uses what its manufacturers call “Responsive Air” technology that senses your movements throughout the night and automatically adjusts firmness, comfort and support. It comes with temperature-balancing fabrics to create the ideal bed for up to two people with different comfort levels related to sleeping posture and breathing requirements.
But that’s not all. The bed also packs in “SleepIQ” technology that tracks how well you sleep each night. In the morning, you can use its smartphone app to see how the Sleep Number 360 adjusted to your comfort and the effect it has on your sleep quality to give you your “SleepIQ score”.
And this brings us to the Zeeq Smart Pillow that gently vibrates when your snoring reaches a preset level to encourage you to change positions to open your constricted airways. Before you even fall asleep, you can use its eight built-in speakers to stream music, audio books and sleep tracks, discretely into your ears without using headphones, or disturbing your partner.
remotely controlled via your smartphone and voice commands; well, that’s IoT at play. With devices like smart lights, IP cameras and Bluetooth speakers with cloud-based voice assistants, IoT has already made its appearance in Indian homes. But this is just the tip of the iceberg. Savio D’Souza tells you about a whole range of IoT-enabled gadgetry – some of which seem quite frivolous – that are already in existence. Imagine… Like the bed, Zeeq uses sleep-tracking sensors to capture data throughout the night to provide you with an analysis of your sleep cycles, duration, snoring and restfulness, which are then presented to you on your smartphone app. You can connect the Zeeq to Amazon’s Echo speakers for sleep reports via voice control, and even use its Smart Alarm to wake you at the optimal time in your sleep cycle.
AS YOU STEP INTO THE BATHROOM…
Even before you even reach for your toothbrush, you pick up your smartphone to control the U by Moen (starting at $1,225) smart shower. This bathroom fitting connects to your home Wi-Fi, and remotely allows you to set your desired water temperature, and length of shower so that you don’t waste water or time. You can connect this IoT device with Amazon Alexa to work with voice commands. You can then start brushing your teeth; U by Moen will inform you via your smartphone when it’s time for you to step into the shower. You can also save your settings to get the perfect shower every time.
As you reach for your toothbrush, you choose between the Kolibree Ara ($129) and the Oral-B 7000 (starts at $200), which come with Bluetooth connectivity and their own apps.
With the Kolibree app, you can monitor the duration, frequency and brushed surface, all through a single dashboard; it gives you an overview of brushed areas for each brushing, even missed spots, which are detected by the 3D sensors embedded within the toothbrush. Kids also get a virtual coach and games to help them improve their oral care.
On the other hand, the Oral-B toothbrush packs in pressure-sensor tech that alerts you if you’re brushing too hard and automatically decelerates the pulsation and oscillation speeds of the brush head. Its wireless Smart Guide gives you realtime information about brushing modes, times and areas. Its app stores up to six months of your personal brushing data comprising easy-to-understand graphs and charts that you can share with your dentist.
IN YOUR KITCHEN…
Before you even open your fridge, you remember you have just three eggs left. This is because the Quirky Egg Minder ($14 on Amazon.com), which holds up to 14 eggs and runs on AA batteries, sent a message to your smartphone, the previous evening, to remind you to buy some more. Each individual egg cup is equipped with a weight sensor to indicate if it contains an egg and when you put it there. Additionally, the LED beside the oldest egg lights up to tell you which one you should use first.
You cook your breakfast on SmartyPans ($229) that connects to your smartphone via Bluetooth to help you make perfect meals. It comprises a removable cooktop, a solid aluminium body, weight and temperature sensors, and an 800mAh rechargeable lithium-polymer battery. When you select from the 1000+ recipes in its app, you get step-by-step cooking instructions. The app recognises voice commands, so you can tell it what ingredients you are adding, while the pan monitors the weight and temperature of each, ensuring that you never overcook your omelette. It even computes nutritional information so you can integrate the calorific data with your fitness apps.
As your breakfast is cooking, you use your smartphone to brew your coffee on the Wi-Fi-enabled Mr Coffee’s Smart WeMo Optimal Brew (₹29,500). This machine lets you set up daily brewing schedules, and even sends you notifications when it needs to be refilled with coffee or water. It comes with a stainless steel flask – or carafe – that can hold up to 10 cups of coffee at a time. Its water-filtration disk removes chlorine and impurities from water, while proprietary brewing technology makes coffee faster and ensures “full flavour” at the same time.
After your breakfast, before you leave the kitchen, you fill your Thermos Connected Hydration Bottle ($60) with water to take with you to work. The 700ml bottle comes with a sensor tube on its “Smart Lid” that measures your water intake during the day while providing real-time temperature readings.
It connects with the Thermos Smart Lid app on your smartphone via Bluetooth to calculate your suggested hydration goal based on your personal data. You can then use your smartphone to chart your daily, weekly and monthly hydration progress.
In-app reminders help you meet your goals, and it even syncs water intake automatically with the Fitbit app on your handset.
TIME TO GET DRESSED…
Don’t know what to wear? No problem. The Amazon Echo Look ($200) is your network-enabled, on-demand sartorialist. You have been using voice commands to shoot full-length photos and six-second videos of you, every day, to create a virtual scrapbook of all your outfits. The device comes with LED lights and a 5MP camera with Intel RealSense SR300 for depth-sensing to create sharp images of what you’re wearing.
You use the Echo Look app on your smartphone to see yourself from every angle, select favourite clothing, see which colours you wear most often, discover new styles, organise your clothing into collections, and even share these with friends.
Sometimes, you even submit two photos from your collection, using the Echo Look’s “Style Check” feature, for a second opinion on which outfit looks better on you, along with feedback based on fit, colour, styling, and current trends.
The device’s IoT cloud-based ecosystem combines machine learning algorithms with tips from fashion experts to give you relevant advice that only gets better as it learns your preferences, choices and comfort levels.
Finally, it’s time to leave for work, but not before your brush your hair with the splash-proof L’Oreal Kerastase Hair Coach (coming soon) that’s powered by Withings. This hairbrush uses myriad sensors to gauge the quality of hair and monitor the effects of different hair care routines. It does this via a built-in mic that listens to the sound of hair brushing to identify patterns, and provide manageability insights with regards to frizziness, dryness, split ends and breakage.
Embeded smart sensors measure the force you apply to your hair and the scalp when brushing, while its accelerometer and a gyroscope analyse brushing patterns and count brush strokes, with haptic feedback that signals if your actions are too vigorous. Conductivity sensors determine if the brush is being used on dry or wet hair to provide an accurate hair measurement.
The Hair Coach feeds data automatically via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to its dedicated mobile app, which then takes into account factors like humidity, temperature, UV and wind, which also impact your hair’s manageability and quality. By tracking the way you brush your hair, the smart brush app provides you with information including a hair quality score, data on the effectiveness of brushing habits, personalised tips and even product recommendations.
Voila, you’re finally ready to leave home and take on the world.