Smart Home Technology Explained

The Internet of Things: 10 Useful Products You Must Try in 2016

James Frew 14-03-2016

The Internet of Things (IoT) What Is the Internet of Things? What is the Internet of Things? Here's everything you need to know about it, why it's so exciting, and some of the risks. Read More is a phrase you may have heard when talking about anything from Internet fridges to smart toothbrushes. But it’s much more than that.


IoT could be the next big technology revolution, turning everyday objects into data collecting gold. It isn’t as complicated as it sounds — IoT is simply Internet connected devices that are able to gather data; from weather, to passenger numbers on trains, to the length and quality of your sleep.


Gartner has estimated that there could be a total of $235 billion spent on IoT this year alone, with 6.4 billion Internet connected devices in the wild. With so many devices set to hit the market in 2016, let’s take a look at some great ways you can get more connected right now.

1. Helmet Concussion Sensor

We all want to prevent concussions, especially as recent research is showing an even greater link between concussions and neurological issues later in life. This is particularly important in sports like football and hockey, and that’s where a product like Shockbox comes in handy.

Shockbox MultiSport Helmet Sensor Shockbox MultiSport Helmet Sensor Buy Now On Amazon


Shockbox is a sensor that attaches to protective helmets and uses accelerometers to measure the effect of a head impact. This information is sent to the smartphone of a parent or a coach via Bluetooth, which allows them to make critical decisions like whether they should be taken off the field.

Available on both Android and iOS, this sensor-and-app combination also allows for the recording of symptoms after collisions in order to track the player’s overall health.

2. Medical Alert Watch

The health of elderly relatives can be difficult to track, but it’s even more difficult when they live on their own. Fortunately, you can now rely on Lively to help you there.

It’s a smartwatch that allows remote health monitoring of your loved ones. The smartwatch can track steps taken as well as other kinds of daily activities, plus it provides an emergency assist button that alerts Lively to call in and check that everything is alright.


These features would be great on their own, but Lively also offers sensors that can be placed around the home so that the system can learn what their normal habits are, like opening the refrigerator or taking their medication.

An online hub allows you to check on your loved ones by reviewing the collected information and looking for any potential changes in behavior that could be a sign of something more serious.

3. Dog Activity Monitor

As the market for health devices is so new, it may surprise you — but not shock you — to know that there is a smart device for monitoring your beloved dog’s health.

FitBark Dog Activity Monitor, Cool Grey FitBark Dog Activity Monitor, Cool Grey Buy Now On Amazon


The device from Fitbark is essentially a “Fitbit for Dogs”, and the company even acknowledges this by allowing you to connect your own Fitbit Fitbit Surge Review and Giveaway There is a single benchmark for the efficacy of a fitness wearable: does it help optimize your workout? The FitBit Surge claims it can do just that. Read More  account if you so wish. It allows you to measure your dog’s activity and quality of sleep, providing theoretically useful data about their behaviors — something that can tell you more than a bark ever could.

With the US currently spending over $50 billion annually on pet care, expect to see more smart pet care products come to market this year.

4. Smart Running Shoes

The sportswear company, Under Armour, debuted a pair of game-changing running shoes at this year’s CES What Is CES? 10 More Tech Shows & Expos to Anticipate in 2016 This year's CES is over, but there are plenty of other interesting tech shows across the year that may interest you. Read More . Where most fitness trackers are worn on the wrist, the SpeedForm Gemini 2 running shoes have the tracking hardware built directly into the shoes themselves.

The shoes are able to do all the standard tracking like time, distance ran, and split times. Making use of their MapMyFitness acquisition, Under Armour has even made it so that the shoes integrate with MapMyRun to provide GPS data for your runs.


As for battery recharging, you won’t need to worry about that. Under Armour claims that the battery for the smart technology will actually outlast the useful life of the shoes.

5. Smart Fitness Clothing

Want to look like Iron Man when working out at the gym but never knew how? Well, now you can with the growing range of Smart Clothing from Athos.

Each garment has built-in sensors which measure muscle activity using electromyography. This information is relayed to the “Iron Man” hub, which you can attach to your chest or leg. Here’s how it works in more detail:

The hub sends this information back to your smartphone allowing you to analyze your performance during different exercises and perfect your techniques. Finally! A way to help you build that superhero body that will match your high-tech attire.

6. One-Button Product Purchases

“Order at the click of a button!” Amazon has taken that phrase literally and produced physical branded buttons called Amazon Dash that link to products in your home.

Say you run out of laundry powder. You can press your Dash button for Tide and Amazon will reorder your Tide Powder product for you. No need to sign onto the Web, fumble with payment methods, or retype credit card numbers.

You can check out the list of Dash buttons here and expect more buttons to become available throughout 2016 as Amazon makes more retail partnerships.

7. Garden Sensor

Parrot, which has been making wireless devices since 1994, is well known for its current range of drones Parrot Bebop Drone and Sky Controller Review and Giveaway Soar through the sky and see the unseeable with fantastic aerial photos and smooth videos: this is the Bebop Drone and Sky Controller. Read More . However, they also make this rather awesome sensor, Flower Power, which you plant into the soil next to your flowers.

The sensor analyzes sunlight, air temperature, fertilizer level, and soil moisture. Then, using a Bluetooth connection to your Android or iOS device, it can alert you to every need of your plant.

8. Smart Garage Controller

The Garageio smart garage door controller does what you would expect it to: open and close your garage door using nothing more than a smartphone app. It even promises to alert you if you leave your garage door open by mistake, but the real interesting feature is that you can grant garage door access to different people.

Garageio says they want to make sure their product does one thing well rather than bloating it with features, and they seem to be living up to that claim. However, that doesn’t mean the product is empty or devoid of features. At the very least, it has out-of-the-box integration with both IFTTT The Ultimate IFTTT Guide: Use the Web's Most Powerful Tool Like a Pro If This Then That, also known as IFTTT is a free web-based service to get your apps and devices working together. Not sure how to build your applet? Follow along with this guide. Read More  and Amazon Echo How Amazon Echo Can Make Your Home A Smart Home Smart home tech is still in its early days, but a new product from Amazon called "Echo" may help bring it into the mainstream. Read More .

9. The Internet of Lego

Do you like Lego? Do you enjoy challenges? Here’s an Internet of Things project that combines both: the Internet of Lego. This project, which was developed by a systems engineer fascinated by IoT technology, is an entertaining mixture of electronics, programming, and Lego.

If you want to get started, you can find all the relevant information you need on the official website. But if it’s been a while since you’ve played with Lego, then take some time to rediscover your love for this awesome creative product 8 Sites to Rediscover Your Love of Lego & Build up Your Collection If that old LEGO box is gathering dust in the attic, it's time to bring it out. The playset is enjoying a resurgence. But eight sites say that it never went away. Read More and build up your collection.

If you are looking for a project to get your teeth into that will improve your programming and electronics skills, as well as giving you something awesome to play around with, you should give it a go.

10. Raspberry Pi Amazon Echo

You may already know that the Raspberry Pi is one of the most flexible, low-cost computing devices out there. What you may not have known is that it can make a great DIY IoT device. The ability to attach sensors to the Pi has now become even easier with the release of the Pi 3 with built-in Wi-Fi and Bluetooth The Raspberry Pi 3: Faster, Better, with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Today, the Raspberry Pi foundation announced the release of the Raspberry Pi 3. It's the most significant update to the popular line of low-cost computers yet. Read More , allowing more room for your own components.

Amazon recently launched the Echo Dot, a follow-up to the enormously popular Echo. But you can only order the Dot by using the Echo, so if you haven’t got the original device, how do you order the Dot?

By creating your own DIY Amazon Echo on the Raspberry Pi! Check out the video above which walks you through the process. And once you are done (and have ordered your Dot) you can sit back, content in the knowledge that you have created your own voice activated personal assistant.

Have you tried out any of these devices? Do you have any other awesome IoT products to share? Let us know in the comments below. (Bonus points if you attempt the IoT Lego!)

Image Credit: Chesky via

Related topics: Internet of Things, Smart Garden, Smart Sensor.

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  1. Bryan Wolfe
    July 29, 2016 at 6:18 pm

    Great list. Not sure about a few, but that's okay. I have a few of the Amazon Dash products. they work really well. Still not sure why I like them so much. Convenience? Cool factor? Hmm.

    • James Frew
      July 30, 2016 at 2:42 pm

      I really want them to hurry up and bring them and the Echo officially to the UK (and rest of the world). I want to try them out for myself because I think I'd find it really convenient but they really are taking their time.

  2. Guest
    June 5, 2016 at 2:26 pm

    Mi band 1s pulse. Fitness gear and sleep tracker. Cheap and good quality.

  3. Hb
    March 22, 2016 at 8:37 am

    I have yet to see anything from the IoT that I need or would use. Then there is the danger aspect that seems apparent, but apparently isn't. There is the money wasted to buy these things, the maintenance of these things and the annoyance. I have a garage door opener.

    • James Frew
      March 22, 2016 at 11:20 am

      Some products are too separated to be useful and operate too much on their own. Although, hopefully, as things like Amazon Echo and Nest become more of a 'smart home hub' where multiple devices can be operated and viewed from one central location, the usefulness of each product will get better.

  4. Anonymous
    March 21, 2016 at 9:32 pm

    Interesting article, particularly the piece on Helmet Concussion Sensors, which could prove very useful in the sport of Rugby too.

    • James Frew
      March 22, 2016 at 11:24 am

      I agree - Rugby is a sport that would really benefit from Concussion sensors. The one from Shockbox is designed more towards sports that require helmets. However, there is a company called X2 Biosystems making a wearable concussion monitoring patch called X-Patch [Broken Link Removed] that can be stuck on behind the ear which should open up more sports like Rugby and Soccer to IoT sensors.

  5. Michael
    March 16, 2016 at 6:06 pm

    A good read thank you!

    • James Frew
      March 16, 2016 at 6:53 pm

      Thanks for reading!

  6. Anonymous
    March 15, 2016 at 6:21 pm

    Before we get too wrapped up in the golly-gee of IoT we all should read the following from ArsTechnica:

    • James Frew
      March 15, 2016 at 6:40 pm

      Totally agree that security is important but it shouldn’t put us off of using connected devices. Instead I think the best thing is making sure you choose reputable brands (// and make sure you do your research before buying about device security.
      With webcams – a staggering amount are left to the default username and password settings – an issue which lays somewhere between manufacturer and the users. But to be on the safe side…

      • Anonymous
        March 15, 2016 at 8:22 pm

        "Totally agree that security is important but it shouldn’t put us off of using connected devices."
        I can't believe that someone who is supposed to be experienced with technology and computers can make that statement. I would expect a statement like that from a publicity flack for the smart-home industry. It is precisely because of lack of security that we should be put off using connected devices. The article I linked to is about the insecurity of webcams but that does not mean that all other WiFi-enabled devices are any more secure. No smart-home brand can be trusted. The manufacturers' emphases is on getting as many WiFi-enabled products out the door as possible. Making those devices secure is not even an afterthought, it is not even considered. Just check MUO archives for just the past couple of months. A week hasn't gone by that there was no article about TVs listening to every word owners say, or routers that are insecure, or devices that spy on users, or refrigerators that can be used to compromise networks.

        What is it going to take to convince you and other writers that IoT, at the present time, is a very dangerous idea? If corporate networks, watched over by professional security administrators, can and are remotely compromised, what chance do home IoT networks administered by security-illiterate users have???