There is a plethora of connected devices out there and even more that will bombard us in the coming months and years.  I thought I’d put together a sample of the ones I’m interested in and give my two cents on each.

Nest Protect

The Nest Protect was released late last year and is a perfect companion Nest_Diamond_Thermostatfor those who already have the NEST thermostat. Before I get into it though, I’m still not 100% keen on the whole Google acquisition, but it’s not something I can do anything about so I’ll just leave it at that. I like the direction NEST is taking which is replacing common household devices, ones that basically anyone can replace, and adding smarts to them. The ability to just have battery information displayed right on your smartphone or emailed to you is brilliant and prevents those midnight chirps when it’s time to replace the battery. Adding smarts to the device is genius. If you burn something in the kitchen (which happens in our household more than I’d like to admit) you can just wave it off. No more waving your hands around like a crazy person for 5 minutes while you go deaf trying to silence the darn smoke detector. As much as I’d like one though, I’ll probably not get one until NEST develops a Windows Phone App. There have been many third party solutions, however NEST keeps taking them down for some unknown reason.  My take on it is if you don’t have an official solution, you should allow third party apps.

Kevo Bluetooth SmartKey Deadbolt

Electronic deadboltI’ve been watching the connected deadbolt space for a while now and glad to see some larger manufactures such as Weiser are picking up these smart deadbolts. It helps lend credibility to these devices and is now a reason why I’d like to get my hands on one.  I honestly hate carrying keys, who doesn’t?  At work most of us use swipe devices like HID fobs, so why can’t we do something similar at home?  It looks like this device is the answer and comes with some handy features. The coolest feature is the “eKey” which allows you to send an electronic key to anyone anywhere at any time so they can enter your house. The only thing that at this time is limiting is the person would need to have an iPhone as the Kevo device relies on the Mobile App (only on iPhone) to assign the “eKey”.  Lastly the concern of security is answered by “military grade PKI encryption”, which should ease those expected security concerns.

Phillips Hue

Most people who know me, know I love lighting and having the right light for the right occasion.  Philips HueI despise the traditional LED and Florescence lights as they are just too harsh and quite frankly ugly.  Enter Phillips with the connected light “Hue” which allows you to configure any colour of the hue spectrum, helps you wake up and even protects your home.  The Hue uses geofencing technology which will turn on whatever lights you have configured when you walk up to your house.  This geofencing technology somewhat relates to a previous blog article I did for Cisco on “Driving to Work in Internet of Everything” where I talk about having your NEST thermostat and lights come on as you approach the house.

What’s cool is the Hue lights have “recipes” depending on what activity you’re looking at doing.  Reading, Relaxing, Concentrating, being Energized, this system can help you achieve those desired activities in what would be optimal lighting.  I’ll have to check with my brother in-law as we purchased the starter set for him and see how he’s liking it.  We basically made him the guinea pig for this as it fits with his lifestyle quite well.  This system is quite expensive as adding bulbs will be costly.

One thing I’ve noticed is this pure dominance of Apple and in some cases Android in the connected devices space.  I’d love to see a more ubiquitous approach, like Citrix, which is any device anywhere anytime.  However at this time money talks and the Apple and Android platforms are king in the smartphone space.  I’m hopeful (maybe a bit naive) that Microsoft will wake up and start cutting into that market share to garner some attention in the connected devices space.

I’d love to hear from you and what connected devices you are interested in trying out, purchasing, and what devices you have today and how they have fit into your lifestyle.

Photographs from Creative Commons

Nest Thermostat by Grantsewell 2012
Electronic deadbolt by Waycool27 2013
Philips Hue by Raul Ramirez 2013


Shaun Guthrie


Information Technology at Focus Corporation