One of the hottest technologies today is Internet of Things (IoT). While the term may sound strange, it simply refers to an assortment of Internet-enabled devices that can control all sorts of useful things for consumers, businesses and governments while also being able to report various forms of live data back to users. The possibilities of this technology are nearly endless, with IoT projects spanning a wide range of applications.
What is really great about the many Internet of Things projects out there is that there is literally something for everyone. There are terrific IoT projects for students to tinker with, for those who want to control all aspects of their environment and for those who would like to automate tasks that can be tedious.
In this article, we will showcase the 10 best IoT ideas that you should keep an eye on in the coming year.
Top IoT Project #1: Nest Smart Thermostat
Devices for smart homes are among the most practical examples of Internet of Things technology, and one of the best examples of this is the Learning Thermostat from Nest. This device allows you to control your home’s temperature using a mobile device, regardless of where you are in the world. At the same time, the device gradually learns what temperatures you like, allowing it to automatically adjust room temperatures without your input. It can also provide you with vital alerts if it detects that something is not right with your cooling or heating system.
Best of all, this IoT device can save you enough money that it could eventually pay for itself. Studies have shown that it can reduce your heating bills by up to 12% and your cooling bills by up to 15%, making it one of the top internet of things devices available right now.
The company is further developing a number of other home automation IoT projects for the future, such as a fire alarm.
Top IoT Project #2: Philips Hue Smart Bulbs
One of the most useful Internet of Things examples are smart bulbs. They can instantly change the lighting color of any room as well as turn on and off the lights as you enter and leave a room. Like the Nest Thermostat, you can control it with a smartphone app, which will allow you to remotely turn the lights on or off, or schedule this. The app will also match the lighting of any image you upload to it and can even sync the lighting to music of your choice, which can be great for parties.
Also like the Nest, Hue Smart Bulbs can save you energy, so the technology can one day pay for itself. What’s more, other companies, such as Belkin, Lumen, Ilumi and LIFX, are entering the smart bulb market as well, which should both lower the cost and increase innovation.
Top IoT Project #3: August Smart Lock
Another great IoT idea is the August Smart Lock. With it, never again do you have to worry about having keys to open or close your home or office. It automatically unlocks you door when you get there and locks it when you leave. You can also grant guests access to your properties, which is great for employing babysitters and for those who host Airbnbs, and you can remove such access at any time and from anywhere. You can also schedule their access to expire at a certain time.
While all this is normally done through a smartphone app, you can also buy a keypad for those times you are without your phone. Like with other great IoT devices in this list, its reporting features are top-notch, too.
Top IoT Project #4: WeMo Switch Smart Plug
Not all IoT projects involve complex devices. There are many simple IoT devices, too, like the Switch Smart Plug. It looks like an ordinary power socket, but it is anything but. Once you plug it into an ordinary power socket, it gives you remote control over when the power turns on and off, through its smartphone app. You can also schedule when the power comes on and off, which is useful for such times as when you want to charge your smartphone overnight but do not want to charge it all night.
The device further monitors electric usage, helping you use electricity more efficiently, and it does this from wherever you may be.
Top IoT Project #5: Petnet Smart Pet Feeder
Not all IoT devices are for the benefit of humans. The Smart Pet Feeder is for your dog or cat. If you worry that your pet is getting too much or too little food, this feeder is for you. It also helps you determine the best food for your pet and shows you how much of it they should be eating. It further automatically feeds your pet the right amount of food at scheduled times, and it can even order more food when you are starting to run low.
Like many other IoT examples listed here, you can control the feeder with your smartphone from wherever you are, and you can monitor how much food your pet is eating.
Top IoT Project #6: VitalConnect Vital Patch
While the goal of most IoT devices is to improve your life by giving you more control over tedious tasks, some IoT devices can actually save your life. The VitalConnect Vital Patch is one of them. This device provides healthcare providers with valuable information about your health over the Internet. These include medical information such as your heart rate, temperature and respiratory rate. It can even detect your body posture and whether you have fallen.
All this information allows doctors to diagnose problems before they happen. It can also help them determine which treatments would be the most beneficial to you, and it can do all this even if you are halfway around the world.
Top IoT Projects #7: Automatic Car Tracking Adapter
IoT is also improving cars and how we maintain them. The Automatic Car Tracking Adapter is a small device that fits in your vehicle. It tracks a wide range of important statistics. These include fuel cost and efficiency, mileage, location, ignition state and the number of hours driven. All of this information is available to you through a smartphone app, which you can integrate with other related apps. Automatic also has a competitor called Dash. Dash offers a similar system that can provide you with information to help you improve your driving.
This technology is not just for consumers. Businesses are using it, too, in order to make efficient use of their vehicle fleets.
Top IoT Projects #8: Oceanit Laboratories Smart Cement
Of all the IoT projects listed in this article, Smart Cement is likely the most surprising. Oceanit Laboratories — in conjunction with other companies — are developing a set of nano-sensors that are embedded in the cement and can transmit (and respond to) signals relating to attributes of the cement. This information can help companies determine the integrity of a structure, which can dramatically improve the maintenance of it. The technology could even prevent accidents and save lives.
While this technology is being applied specifically for the oil industry, Oceanit believes that the technology could one day be applied to everything from sidewalks to hydroelectric dams. Smart Cement is so promising that many U.S. federal departments are funding its further development, including the Department of Transportation, Energy and Defense.
Top IoT Projects #9: Libelium Smart Parking
IoT is not just for consumers and businesses. Governments, working in conjunction with private industry, are developing a range of IoT solutions to help them better provide services to the public. One of the best examples of this type of IoT use is Libelium Smart Parking. The device helps drivers locate available parking spots.
The product consists of a small device called IP68 that does not need to be embedded in the ground. Cities can install them in as little as 5 minutes and replace them within 10 minutes. They are further impervious to weather, can last for 10 years and have a range of several kilometers.
Once installed, drivers can use a smartphone app to communicate with them. The app immediately leads them to a free parking spot, saving them lots of time and frustration.
Libelium is also developing a wide range of other smart city solutions, which will monitor noise and gas levels, automate waste management and improve the quality of water.
Top IoT Projects #10: Canary Smart Security System
Security is yet another example of applied IoT. Previously, homes and businesses had to rely primarily on motion detection systems. But the Canary Smart Security System takes security to a whole new level. While it includes motion detection, it combines this with the following:
- Night Vision
It also has sensors that can monitor a property’s temperature, humidity and air quality. All of this you can access and control through a smartphone app.
A competitor of Canary is Piper, which offers a similar system that also includes a speaker. This allows you to communicate with anyone on your property even if you are in another country.