The Internet of Things (IoT) has long promised to bridge the gap between the internet and the physical world. The estimated number of internet-enabled devices increased 31% from 2016 to 8.4 billion in 2017, and experts predict that there will be 30 billion of them by 2020. With an estimated global market value of $7.1 trillion by 2020, IoT looks set to become a big part of our future lives.
While not every device is as useful as it claims to be, manufacturers are scrabbling to release an ever-increasing number of products. You may have noticed one common trend among them all: they’re expensive. This kind of makes sense – we’re not just talking about a normal hairbrush; we’re talking about a smart hairbrush, with Wi-Fi, a microphone, and a gyroscope. No, really.
Fortunately, with the sheer number of devices available, you can find IoT devices that don’t break the bank. Here are four of them.
Tile – $26.99
First up is this handy little gadget. The Tile is a tiny Bluetooth tracker that attaches to just about anything. Keys, bags, wallets, or whatever else you can think of. The device is simple and easy to use – just pair it with your phone, open the app, and as long as you’re within 100 feet of the Tile, it’ll play a loud tune until you find it.
It works the other way too. Just click Tile, and it’ll make your phone ring. There are also “Sport” and “Style” versions with waterproofing and double the range of the standard model.
Awair Glow – $99g
The Awair helps you monitor air quality in your home, giving you the temperature, humidity, and CO2 levels and chemical composition. The LED on the top shows you at-a-glance – red, yellow, or green – what the overall quality of air in a room is, and the associated app lets you track exact levels down to the PPM (parts per million) while also logging past data so you can see improvements over time.
Cleverly, the Awair can also trigger non-smart devices such as dehumidifiers or air filters at specific times, or when certain criteria are met within the measured parameters.
Wemo Mini-Smart Plug – $29.99
This handy plug lets you turn any pluggable device into a smart one. Using your existing home Wi-Fi, you can wirelessly control TV’s, lamps, heaters, fans, and anything else you can plug in, all from the Wemo app. You can also set schedules for devices and control them via your phone, giving you control over your devices even when you’re not at home.
Kas Smart LED Light Bulb – $39.98
Control your lighting from a smartphone with this smart bulb from Kas. Connecting via your home Wi-Fi, you can use the free Kasa app to set colors, brightness, and track energy usage from your smartphone or tablet. The app lets you create schedules or “scenes” that let you set the mood with a swipe. Or just ask Alexa or Google Assistant to dim the lights for you.
So, remember, it doesn’t cost the earth to add a bit of IoT convenience to your home. Hopefully, some of the devices above will fit your budget!