by Kim Kay
Our present to you: The IoT Innovator 2021 smart gift guide
We probably all can agree that ‘home for the holidays’ has taken on a decidedly different meaning these past couple of years. With virtually (pun intended) everyone spending more time at home these days – thanks to the quasi-post-pandemic world in which we find ourselves – giving an IoT-themed gift this holiday season seems well-timed. After all, if we’re going to continue spending so much time at home, we may as well make it more comfortable, more automated and more secure in a way that only the Internet of Things can.
Read on for a snapshot of some of the most irresistible IoT items – both splurge-worthy and budget-friendly – that will make your friends and family actually want to stay home.
Hex Home Security System
If you’re looking for an entire home security system that requires very little setup for the user, look no further than the Hex Home Security System. Hex uses existing WiFi waves in the home to detect motion and subsequently notify the user via an infinitely intuitive app.
Custom sensitivity levels allow the user to instruct the system to disregard specific motions (such as pets or a fan blowing a curtain, for example) without diminishing the range of security coverage. As Hex proclaims: “No tools, hardware, or patience needed.” Surely, everyone has time for that.
The Kinsa Thermometer
No-touch forehead thermometers are so two years ago. Instead, today’s obsessive temperature-taking times call not only for contactless but also connected thermometers – ones that can intelligently share data about illnesses spreading in communities in real time. Enter the Kinsa thermometer, which is likely to appeal to both parents and public health crowdsourcing-inclined types. The thermometer’s accompanying app allows users to track symptoms, automatically record their fluctuating temperatures, and take action in real time.
Filtrete Smart Air Purifier
Being home more has made many of us consider our indoor air quality, or lack thereof. Luckily, the easy-to-use, connected Filtrete Smart Air Purifier and compatible filter will automatically clean and track your home’s air (capturing 99.97% of unwelcome airborne particles), as well as measure CO2, temperature and humidity. Users can integrate this smart purifier from anywhere with a smart phone and Filtrete’s app, which not only provides graphs of their home’s air quality but also prompts them to take action when issues arise. Now, that’s something about which we all can breathe easy.
Belkin’s Wemo Mini
Belkin’s Wemo Mini smart outlet is plug and play, in the most literal sense of the term. Compatible with Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant and Apple HomeKit, this brainy plug uses a home’s existing WiFi network to give users instant control over lights and other electronic devices around the house – directly from a phone or tablet and regardless of where they are in the world. This hub-free outlet also boasts a pleasing price point. Stocking stuffer, anyone?
The Ecobee SmartThermostat with Voice Control has many leaving the Nest, so to speak, since it shares many of the same cool features, but without the Google-owned Nest’s privacy concerns. Specifically, Ecobee’s app-enabled thermostatmakes adjusting the temperature – either from one’s home or from hundreds of miles away – a literal breeze. Users can also employ Ecobee’s built-in Amazon Alexa speaker, or alternatively, control temps and everything else from their phones via the Ecobee app. (It’s worth noting that Ecobee’s SmartThermostat with Voice Control works with other smart home ecosystems beyond Alexa.)
Additionally, built-in temperature and occupancy sensors automatically adjust the temperature based on whether the user is home or away. Similarly, a remote sensor placed in any room of the home can read ambient temperature and detect occupancy. We’re warming to the idea already.
August WiFi Smart Lock
August’s newest iteration of its smart lock is about half the size of its predecessor and is compatible with most deadbolts (which means, no dreaded tinkering is required to accommodate it). August’s convenient and customizable geofencing feature automatically locks and unlocks the door when a user and his or her WiFi-enabled mobile device leaves or returns home.
The August Smart Lock works with Google Assistant, Apple HomeKit and Amazon Alexa, and – for the first time in its four-generation history – comes equipped with built-in WiFi. Looks like August is key to the smart lock market.
Dodow Sleep Aid Device
A good night’s sleep has never been more coveted than during these wild times – something which Dodow is undoubtedly banking on with its sleep aid setup. Essentially, Dodow’s sleep training system uses a light-based metronome – which trains an expanding and retracting blue LED light on to the ceiling – to teach users how to breathe along to it and as a result, fall asleep effectively.
According to the company’s website, more than 850,000 people are sleeping peacefully thanks to this product, which is nothing to snooze at.
For iPhone-philes, especially those who are constantly losing things, the Apple AirTag just may be the item they’ve been searching for. AirTag is one of the very best object trackers on the market, simply because it makes use of Apple’s nearly-one-billion-device-strong network to locate lost items. To wit: When AirTag is in iPhone Bluetooth range, it can pinpoint an item’s location within millimeters via Precision Finding. AirTag – which can be attached to oft-lost items such as keys or a wallet – is water-resistant, comes with a battery that can last up to a year between replacements, and is sold individually or in four-packs.
I’d be remiss if I failed to mention an equally superior object tracker for the Android set. The Tile Mate – which has been around since 2014 – is a trusted Bluetooth tracker for both Android and Apple that boasts a strong speaker, solid connectivity and weatherproof build. The Mate’s battery typically lasts about three years but, when it dies, it’s done. If that’s a concern, then the slightly more expensive (by about ten bucks) Tile Pro – with its one-year replaceable battery and metal frame – might be the way to go.
Razer Kivo Pro Webcam
The work-from-home “trend” is clearly here to stay, so an HD USB webcam just may be the most well-timed gift of the holiday season.
The Razer Kiyo Pro Webcam is the ideal gift for those on frequent Zoom calls, since it’s capable of recording video 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second. That’s a downright desirable recording speed for a webcam, as a higher frame rate translates to smoother footage. Additionally, the Razer’s four built-in microphones, autofocus feature, and adaptive light sensor will turn any user’s living room into a zoom with a view.
Kim Kay is the editor-in-chief of IoT Innovator. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.