IoT Under the Tree

Internet thingies are all the rage this holiday season

The next internet frontier may not show up on a new super-cool app or some epic social media functionality. The next sensation will be a lot closer to home, literally, it will be part of your home—in fact, it might be under your Christmas tree

While you were shopping for that perfect gift this Holiday Season, you probably noticed a rapidly growing list of products built around connectivity. Collectively known as The Internet of Things, IoT for short, they aspire to enhance your life by allowing you to interact with everyday objects.

If you have seen the “Be My Guest” number from the film “Beauty and the Beast” you start to get some idea of what this is all about.

Home Hubs

The most popular are voice-activated, internet devices such as Amazon’s Echo, “Alexa” to its friends. Hook it up it to your home wireless connection and ask it (her?) a question. It answers with a friendly female voice as it accesses just about any bit information you can think of—weather, traffic, time, recipes, movie times and reviews, music, and so on.

There are also Home Hubs from Google, Samsung, and Verizon. Prices range from $99 to $300

…And more!

Add the appropriate accessories, and you have a fully responsive environment. With just the sound of your voice, you can lock and unlock your doors and windows, turn on, dim, and turn off lights, play music throughout your house, turn appliances on and off—even check what’s inside your refrigerator, and make yourself coffee. 

Ring Video Doorbell

Check-in on your front door at any time, from anywhere on your phone, tablet and PC, with Live View on-demand video. Works with Alexa when your doorbell is pressed or motion is detected, allowing you to see, hear, and speak to visitors. Includes infrared night vision, and Lifetime Theft Protection Price: $99 — $249

Smarter FridgeCam

Install this wireless camera inside your refrigerator and view the contents remotely through an accompanying app. Object recognition tracks food and expiration dates. There’s also a built-in shopping list function. Price: $131

Amazon Dash Buttons

For the part of your home that’s not in the refrigerator. Amazon Dash buttons are one-click devices that can be stuck anywhere in your house, allowing you to reorder your favorite product. Put one that orders detergent in your laundry room, for instance. Each one is paired with a product you select through the Amazon App. Price: $4.99 each

AIMOX Smart Wifi Stainless Steel Electric Kettle

Great for tea, coffee, milk, or any hot beverage. Operate this stainless steel, remote control kettle with a downloadable app. Set temperature at 65°C, 80°C, 95°C, and 100°C degrees. Includes a 360° degree rotating base. Price: $99.99

Nest Learning Thermostat

The Nest Learning Thermostat is an easy way to control the temperature in your home. The thermostat is remotely controlled through a mobile device. Best of all, it learns what your temperature preferences are — automatically— storing your preferences, and saving you money.

Price: $249

Nest Protect

Another product by Nest is “Nest Protect.” The smart device not only detects smoke and carbon monoxide but can send alerts through an app if the owner is away. It can also be turned off remotely in the case of false alarms. Price: $119


Kuri, a mobile robot, designed to wander around your house with a microphone, hands-free command features, camera, speakers, and mapping sensors. It also functions as a mobile internet hotspot, accessing anything on the web, and Kuri is set to take pictures and footage of everyday life automatically. Price: $Pre-order

On the Toy Front — Furby

More like an interactive pet, Furby connects your child to a world of surprises. Sync with the Furby Connect World app and get updates, learn new phrases and interactions, play music, and videos. Furby has more than 150 colorful eye animations. You can even make Furby sleep just by putting the included sleep mask on. What fun! Price: $69.45 – $139.99.

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