5 IoT Products Bringing the Web Into the Real World
:: By Diana Zelikman, Fueled ::
The year is 2014, and society is 25 years removed from it’s introduction to the Web. That’s right, Tim Berners-Lee submitted the CERN communications proposal that would become the World Wide Web 25 years ago. Consequentially, the first Internet browser, Netscape, went online 20 years ago.
In the grand scheme of things, 25 years may not seem like a long time but in the tech world it may as well be eons. Web 2.0 has phased out earlier iterations, some are even saying the “Web is dead” and succumbing to the proliferation of smart mobile technology and native applications. Technology sociologist Matthew Baxter-Reynolds says, “it’s not the native apps that’s anachronistic; it’s the mobile Web that is.”
Even as mobile applications are changing the way we use the Web and becoming more useful to our day-to-day activities, some tech producers are weaving the Web and real world together with emerging technologies we’ve come to know collectively as “the Internet of Things” or IoT. These companies are developing Web-enabled, smart products that not only serve their function but also deliver useful services that help us live our lives a little more efficiently.
Here are a few tech firms we rounded up that are bringing the Web into the real world.
Learning Thermostat by Nest Labs
With energy costs on the rise in the past years, many consumers have searched for ways to lower their energy bills. Home automation firm, Nest Labs, has addressed this need with its Learning Thermostat which is a Web-enabled update to a staple in home appliances. Nest’s Learning Thermostat software records user setting history and uses that data to run the attached home cooling or heating system efficiently, lowering costs for the consumer. Consumers control the Learning Thermostat either by using its LED-display or compatible mobile application.
Tech giant, Google, acquired Nest Labs for $3.2 billion earlier this year, and the home automation producer recently introduced its own carbon monoxide and smoke detector to the market.
Egg Minder by Quirky
IoT is bringing the Web everywhere, including our refrigerators. Take a trip to your local appliance store, and you’ll see rows of new high-tech, smart refrigerators that tell consumers when their produce is no longer fresh or items need to be replenished. Tech incubator Quirky, along with General Electric Co. (GE), took the Web into refrigerators in 2013 with its Web-enabled egg tray, Wink.
Egg Minder alerts the consumer when eggs need to be replenished both with LED indicators and Quirky’s Wink mobile application.
GPS Dog Collar by Whisper
In the not too distant past, we attached small nameplates to our dog’s collars with vital contact information should they ever end up missing or in an emergency. Now, we connect our dogs to the Web with Whistle’s GPS dog collar. Whistle shares our four-legged friend’s location with a complementary mobile application, allowing consumers to keep up with their pets should they ever get lost (or are at the park drinking wine).
In addition to helping us keep up with our pets, Whistle provides useful data in an activity report that helps us keep pets healthy, even suggesting length of walks per day.
Mother by Sense
In addition to helping us be bit more efficient, IoT products help us care for ourselves a little better. Sense’s Mother does just that. With small sensors, or Cookies, Mother is counsel for hygienic (like teethburshing - see image), home energy, home security and more. Consumers can attach the small sensors to various items, receiving alerts from Mother’s mobile application.
Quitting smoking is a hard process for many with solutions that include things like nicotine gum, patches and step-by-step programs. Tech startup QuitBit delivers a more sensible but technical solution with its smart lighter. QuitBit tracks your smoking with light, sending data to its mobile application. The mobile application allows users to monitor their usage, set goals and even share their journey with other “QuitBitters”.
Diana Zelikman is an editor at Fueled, the leading iPhone app builder in New York City, renowned for its award winning mobile design and strategy.