In the build up to Christmas, we take a look at some of the affordable gadgets heavily influenced by the internet of things (IoT), which can ‘smartify’ your home in the months ahead.
When we think of IoT gadgets, we think of large, bulky kitchen items that take up the same amount of space as an oven – which they actually do in most cases – but bigger does not always mean better.
Not only that, but the bulkier devices tend to hit your pocket just as hard as the heating bill that you might have had prior to installing an IoT device, such as the Nest Thermostat, would.
So, if you’re struggling to think what to fit in John’s or Jane’s stocking this Christmas, perhaps these connected devices will fit the bill, and even raise a few chuckles.
Cujo – IoT home security device
It seems too good to be true, frankly, but there’s a device out there that seems to turn your home network into Fort Knox, from a cyberattack point of view.
The small, white and slickly-designed device, which even has virtual eyes, claims it can block malware, identify viruses and phishing scams, and detect hacks of your home network by plugging into your wireless router.
It will automatically update when a new major threat is found, covers practically all of your devices, and will notify you when you’re home network is under attack.
Still operating as an Indiegogo campaign, the American-produced device is currently available at $69, which you have to say is a pretty good deal. (After the Indiegogo wraps, Cujo will be on shelves at $157.)
You probably heard of Amazon Dash – a surprise to many when it was released on April Fool’s Day this year, the Amazon Dash automatically orders products for you at the press of a button.
Of course, that actually wasn’t a joke, but rather a true ease-of-use IoT product. The problem is that, here in Ireland at least, we can’t actually get access to it. Thankfully, there is another product that does the same thing, and it is available here.
Called the Flic, the small disk can be programmed via a person’s phone to control any connected device on the network.
Just like Dominos did with its order button, you can program a Flic disk to make your favourite pizza order, or even wear it and program it to be a distress signal to a friend to tell them you’re in trouble.
To get four of the buttons costs €100, which is pretty good, or else you can just order the one for €35.
Definitely for someone who racks up significant frequent flyer miles each year, and is somewhat forgetful, the Trakdot device is the perfect gift.
Quite simply, the Trakdot is a tracking device for luggage, and aims to give you a bit more peace of mind about the fact that you’ve left your luggage behind as you sit on your intercontinental flight.
Or, also likely, you arrive at your destination after a rather uncomfortable flight only to find that the airline has lost your luggage. With Trakdot, you can show the baggage handlers that it’s not 3,000km away in a distant airport, but rather forgotten about in the cargo hold of the aircraft.
To conserve battery and not annoy airline security officers, it’s designed to shut off once it recognises, using its GPS technology, that the plane has taken off.
At a cost of €110, it’s not a bad price to pay to prevent you losing a bag filled with tax-free shopping from Dubai.
I felt this had to be included as it’s definitely something that would do well as a Christmas stocking filler for the coffee aficionado.
Apparently, the creator of the ReadySip, Alex Burdine, was so keen to drink his coffee that he kept burning his tongue on hot coffee.
“Why can’t I make a device that lets me know when my coffee is ready to drink but warns me before it gets too cold?,” he says of the eureka moment behind his creation.
Basically, it’s an IoT thermometer that you put into your coffee, and which connects to your smartphone and tells you the temperature.
Not only that, but you can set in the app what your perfect drinking temperature is, and ReadySip will notify you when your beverage cooled to that degree.
It’s got multi-coloured LED lights that show you when it’s perfect, in the eye of the beholder.
It’s starting from $20, so it’s the perfect little item for shoving in a Christmas stocking.
While the ReadySip is more of a convenient device than an actual life-saver, the iGrill is actually a pretty useful gadget when it comes to food safety.
Called the iGrill – please don’t sue them, Apple – is a small device that you plonk beside your barbecue and essentially connect with your meat on the grill.
With the temperature-gauging probe placed into the steak or chicken, you can read what temperature the inside of the meat is on your phone.
Just like the ReadySip, it has an LED light system that will change with the temperature, and can be magnetised to a barbecue to stop it getting too messy near the grill.
It costs $39.95 as well. Sweet.
Christmas stocking image via Shutterstock
Want stories like this and more direct to your inbox? Sign up for Tech Trends, Silicon Republic’s weekly digest of need-to-know tech news.