Have you got your IoT down? Marchelle Abrahams goes in search of the best gadgets to turn up your home’s IQ.
What is the Internet of Things (IoT) how does it affect me? It’s a term that’s been thrown around since a few years ago but is steadily gaining traction as gadgets become smarter and integrated into our homes.
The concept still remains misunderstood, as Keith Fenner puts it, VP of Sage Enterprise in Africa and the Middle East. The technology industry is on a drive to connect everything from electric toothbrushes to heavy factory machinery to the internet, but it’s also slowly creeping into our everyday lives.
In short, “the IoT is a complex interconnected network of related parts that sense context, transfer data, process information and initiate action,” notes Fenner. If you’re thinking of turning your living space into a smart hub, we’ve gone in search of the best gadgets to turn up your home’s IQ.
Ask it questions. Tell it to do things. This is your smart home assistant. Powered by Google Assistant, and with the support of multiple users, Google Home can distinguish your voice from others, ensuring a more personalised experience. What makes it smart?
It can make calls and gives you real time answers, including weather and traffic reports. So it works like this:
You: Google, tell me about my day
Google Home: Good morning Marchelle. The time is 10:38am. The weather in Cape Town is currently 19 degrees and cloudy. You might want to take with a jacket. Today at 12:20pm, you have a lunch date with Sandy. Have a nice day!
Price: R2 700
Shop it: www.takealot.com
Philips Hue White starter kit
Including 2 bulbs and a hub to connect them to other smart home devices, the Philips Hue starter kit works with a range of smart home systems, including Alexa, Apple HomeKit, IFTTT, Google Home, and Nest.
These are no ordinary light bulbs: you can adjust their brightness (up to 800 lumens), and add up to 50 to a single hub (see below). The best part is that you can control your lights from anywhere, and schedule them for automation with your smartphone or tablet. Geo-fencing technology enables them to light up and welcome you home or switch off automatically when you leave.
Price: R2 350
Shop it: www.zinteldo.co.za
Samsung SmartThings hub
If you’ve souped up your home with smart gadgets, then this home hub is the central nervous system you’ll need to ensure they communicate with each other.
It works with a wide range of devices and has a battery backup. Word is that Samsung will integrate this technology into its 2016 4K TV – meaning you won’t need to plug another gadget into your router.
Like Google Home, it can also organise your life to make things easier. For instance, it switches on the lights when you wake up. And when you leave home, it turns off the lights, locks the doors and turns on the security system.
While you’re away, it can send you video alerts of any unexpected activity – it’s basically the brains behind your home security system. Think of it as JARVIS to your Iron Man.
Price: R2 800
Shop it: www.takealot.com
Nest Cam Outdoor camera
Waterproof and discreet, this little baby plugs into your power supply so you never have to worry about it dying on you in those crucial moments.
With Nest Aware, the camera constantly streams video and saves footage to your Nest account.
You’ll also get an alert when the camera thinks it has spotted an intruder. All you have to do is log into your Nest app. With Android phones the alert include a cropped close-up of the person. The best feature about this camera is its built-in speaker and mic, so you can scare off a suspicious visitor when you’re out.
Price: R8 545 for 2 pack
Shop it: www.wantitall.co.za
LG InstaView Fridge
LG has touted its newest creation “like window shopping in your own fridge”. And that’s exactly what it is – it lets you see inside without even opening the door. Just knock twice on the tinted glass panel and it will light up, giving you instant access to what’s inside.
There’s just one problem; the double door fridge is a statement on its own, and if your guests are going to be admiring your fridge, they’ll probably be checking out the contents of it as well. Best be warned that you’ve stocked it up before they come calling.
Price: $4 200 (about R54 600)
Shop it: No word yet if it will be available in SA