You might have heard of connected devices and the internet of things. Devices that can communicate with one another (from wearables, to cars, to smart meters) are very much here – and McKinsey&Co estimates that the internet of things could be worth up to $11.1 trillion per year by 2025.
The internet of things is already infiltrating areas of life you probably never even thought of, like sport, sleeping and even petcare. Intrigued? Of course you are! Here’s our countdown of the most weird and wonderful uses of connected tech out there right now.
7. Innovative pet wearables
Ever wondered how fit your pet is? Or how happy they are? Well, wonder no more. The height of pet tech used to be collars with GPS chips, for easy tracking in case your beloved pooch gets lost. Nowadays, collars can tell when your dog is low on energy, keep you and your pet in constant contact with two-way audio, or create a virtual fence when your pet has wandered off. There’s now even a harness that taps into your dog’s unique heartbeat to determine how happy they are – it flashes different colours at different speeds as your pet’s mood changes.
6. Championship winning sport
Take your game to the next level with some connected kit. If tennis is your thing, try the Play Pure racket – with a sensor built into the handle, you can review your power, technique and endurance via the connected app. Adidas has also developed the miCoach X_Cell, a device that clips onto your belt to measure your performance after a game. Perfect if you’re looking to up your game in any sport.
5. Gardening hacks
For those with green-fingers, the world of connected gardening is getting wild. Take Parrot Flower Power, for example. This plant sensor monitors soil and weather conditions and gives you advice for optimising your plants. Connected to your smartphone, the app then tells you when to water, fertilise or re-pot. There are also smart sprinkler systems available that tap into weather forecasts to assess the best time to water your lawn. Time to get the gardening gloves out then.
4. Intelligent umbrellas
Forget checking the weather forecast before you leave the house – your umbrella can do it for you. The Ambient Umbrella handle glows brighter the higher the chance of rain. And when bad weather does hit, there are umbrellas to put a smile on your face. Take the Pileus umbrella: it has a built in camera and projects images onto the inside of the brolly. Other umbrellas play music, include solar panel mood lights and even notify your phone to make sure they never get lost.
3. Next-generation toys
One for the adults as much as the children, connected toys are taking off in a big way. Smart toys don’t just talk to children – they interact with them. And new technology means that toys, like this Dinosaur from CogniToys, can learn with children – and crucially, get smarter as they do. Remember Scalextric? Well now tracks feature alternating weather systems, oil spill incidents and different types of tyres, so kids can get a more ‘realistic’ experience of racing.
2. Industry-leading cars
And speaking of getting behind the wheel, we shouldn’t forget connected cars. Often credited with driving (pun intended) the connected tech market forward, it’s estimated that nine out of ten vehicles will have some sort of wireless connectivity by 2020. With Apple’s CarPlay you can already use Siri to ask for directions, send texts and much more, without ever taking your eyes on the road. Clever.
1. Helpful sleep solutions
If you’re struggling to get some much-needed shut eye, this one’s for you. The Luna mattress cover links up with all of your smart home devices (like lightbulbs and thermostats) to make you get a good night’s rest. The mattress cover also monitors your sleep, identifies your schedule, recommends changes to your routine and wakes you up in the right place in your sleep cycle to make sure you get the best rest you can. Bedsheets that measure sleep duration and quality could also be huge in the medical world, as they can be used to report data back to healthcare professionals to help manage sleep disorders and even depression.
With so many weird and wonderful solutions to everyday problems out there, it looks like the Internet of Things is here to stay. And if you want to tap into the connected world in your own home, why not check out Smart Pay As You Go? As E.ON’s own contribution to the Internet of Things, Smart Pay As You Go lets you control your energy wherever you are. You can use the app to top up your meter from your smart phone, stay on top of your spending and monitor your energy use on the go. It might not be as experimental as a connected umbrella, but it’s a first step towards the smart tech revolution.