25 things that you didn’t know were online

Analysts are estimating that there will nearly 5 billion smart devices over the next 12 months, with that number increasing four-fold through 2020. And, while things talking to each other online may sound like something directly out of the latest sci-fi or Disney flick, traditionally “dumb” objects found inside your living room, garage and even adorned to your bodies are becoming increasingly connected, much like computers did with the advent of the Internet.

Trash Cans


Smart trash cans with sensors and wireless links can remotely alert cleaners when they are full.

Street Lights


Intelligent street lights will illuminate only when necessary, thereby reducing light pollution and saving potentially billions of dollars. Each light will also brighten and dim automatically, as well as be fixed immediately when broken.



Parks, whose seating has remained relatively unchanged for years, will soon be equipped with solar-powered benches that can charge any USB-connected device.

Public Restrooms


Yes, even toilets and urinals will be embedded with sensors and connected to a wireless network. These smart restrooms will alert janitorial staffs in real-time after a certain number of occupants, while collected data will be analyzed to see which stalls were used most often.

Water Fountains


Smart water fountains can do more than just hydrate those passing by. These drinking stations will communicate to users, charge smartphones, and even measure air quality.

Beer Kegs


A number of establishments are outfitting their kegs with sensors that monitor beer levels, which notify operators when it’s time to tap a fresh keg. In addition, pub owners can automatically send customized social alerts to Facebook and Twitter each time a new beer goes on tap.

Coffee Makers


Now, those looking to brew their morning cup ‘o joe will be able to do so right from their mobile device. Smart coffee makers will then notify users when their beverage is ready, and offer a friendly reminder to change the filter and grounds as well.



Homeowners will be able to know who is at the door, talk to their visitors, and when necessary, grant them access all through their smartphone.



It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that the shopping experience is being ushered into a much more digital-savvy era. Dressing rooms will be fitted with smart mirrors that not only allow users to try on various outfits through gesture control, but instantly share with friends and family over social media. And for those wondering, yes they can take selfies, too. These mirrors will be able locate additional accessories to round out a look, let you instantaneously read product reviews, and summon a sales associate to bring you an item in a different color or size, rather than have to get decent again and go back out to the store floor.

Parking Lots


Sensors will be connected to smart parking solutions, which will relay space availability information in real-time. Once logged-in, a web-based application can inform a driver of empty parking spots and through GPS help them navigate to its location. In addition to that, the driver can also pay right from the app.

Sports Stadiums


Following in the footsteps of Levi’s Field, a growing number of stadiums and arenas will be equipped with Wi-Fi access, ethernet ports and an array of smarter features that will be enough to make any geek cheer. In correlation with these venues becoming more connected, interactive audience participation apps will also be increasingly adopted for live, in-stadium events.

Entire Cities


With the total number set to quadruple through 2025, smart cities will be embedded with billions of sensors capable of measuring water and air pollution, monitoring traffic flow, lessening noise and energy consumption, as well as streamlining public transportation.

Mass Transit


Speaking of transit, waiting for bus, trains and subways is going be much less of a hassle. Thanks to connected, touch-enabled displays, commuters will be updated on arrival times, service changes, news and more.



Sure, energy efficiency is great and all, but Wi-Fi connected lightbulbs pack a bunch of fun features, too. Users can set the mood through their smartphone, receive appointment reminders and weather updates, as well as enhance in-home entertainment by syncing the lights to some TV shows.

Soda Machines


Have you ever used one of those soda fountains that let you create your own drink? Well, these web-enabled machines — which can be found at restaurants like Five Guys and Burger King — not only provide patrons with endless beverage options, but allow operators to know when to restock a machine and how much inventory each one requires.

Pet Feeders


Being away from home no longer means you have to hire a petsitter or worry about neglecting your furry friend. Thanks to the Internet of Things, pet owners not only can play with them remotely, but feed them with just the press of a button. Pretty pawsome, if you ask us!

Hospital Equipment

Empty Hospital Bed

Hospitals have been using sensor-laden medical devices (such as CT scanners and MRI machines) and hospital beds for quite some time now, enabling staff to visualize the flow and availability of equipment. With this implemented technology, medical centers can forecast demand, expedite room cleaning, and even diminish wait times.



Your next set of blinds will automatically adjust slats according to lighting conditions, weather, room temperature and time of day. Not to mention, blocking sun rays or maximizing the light and heat that enter the room will help you save on your cooling or heating bills.



From streaming music to recreating the weather to knowing your sleeping patterns, lamps are getting smarter.



Next-gen umbrellas will do more than just keep you dry; in fact, they will display images from the web, locate nearby friends and even alert you when the forecast calls for bad weather.



The next wave of sneakers will sport a number of sensors that track activity, relay data to mobile devices, automatically post to social media channels, and call an Uber ride.



Knowing when a baby needs to be changed is about to get much easier. Instead of having to pick up and small an infant’s diaper, the smart garment will send parents and babysitters an SMS message when wet or soiled, as well as monitor the health of infants ranging from urinary tract infections to dehydration.



The common bathroom scale has evolved over the years. Not only will these smart tools measure weight, but will track body fat, log stats, and seamlessly integrate with third-party health tracking apps.



Gardeners can easily stay on top of their pots’ moisture levels by being notified when they are in need of watering, which all can be done through its connected irrigation system. Say goodbye to dead plants!

Cupcake ATMs


IoT… Internet of Treats! Already dispersed throughout 17 U.S cities, Cupcake ATMs deliver fresh goodies in less than 10 seconds and are are restocked several times per day. Impressively, the connected machines — which can hold up to 760 cupcakes at a time — have the ability to change prices in real-time based on weather or time of day, and allow operators to more effectively and efficiently understand customers. Not only cupcakes, but expect to see most of tomorrow’s vending mechanisms become web-enabled. They will recognize users, display welcome messages, pay with the tap of a mobile device, and even offer tailored suggestions to suit one’s snack-buying behavior.

A smart future requires smarter technology made possible through the smartest chips. Discover how Atmel is transforming the world through the Internet of Things and get started on your own smart design here.

1 thought on “25 things that you didn’t know were online

  1. Pingback: Jan 1 – 2015 | Eric Michalsen

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