Tag Archives: smart devices

There will be 6.4 billion connected devices by next year

By 2016, 5.5 million things will become connected to the Internet each day.

Just in case you needed any more validation that the Internet of Things has arrived, get ready for several billion smart objects in our world by as early as next year. According to Gartner, the number of devices connected to the Internet is actually expected to exceed 6.4 BILLION come the end of 2016. This mind-blowing figure represents a 30% increase from 2015, and is projected to continuing rising to 20.8 billion by 2020.


To put this number into perspective, 5.5 million new “things” will become connected every day. As a result, the growing IoT will support total services spending of $235 billion in 2016, up 22% from 2015. Beyond that, Gartner anticipates most of that money will be spent on what it calls the “professional category” — services in which businesses contract with external providers in order to design, install and operate intelligent systems. At the same time, both “connectivity services” and “consumer services” are also expected to grow at an exceptionally fast pace.

“IoT services are the real driver of value in IoT, and increasing attention is being focused on new services by end-user organisations and vendors,” Gartner VP Jim Tully explains.

Aside from connected cars, Gartner believes that consumer applications will account for the greatest number of smart gadgets, while enterprise will account for the largest spending. The analyst firm estimates that four billion connected things will be in use in the consumer sector next year, and will hit 13.5 billion over the next five years.

In terms of hardware spending, consumer applications will amount to $546 billion in 2016, while the use of connected things in the enterprise will drive $868 billion in 2016.


When examining the enterprise computing segment, Gartner says it considers two classes of connected things. The first class consists of generic or cross-industry devices that are used in multiple industries, such as smart light bulbs, HVAC and building management systems that are mainly deployed for purposes of cost savings. Meanwhile, the second class includes vertical-specific machines that are found in particular industries, like specializes equipment used in hospital operating theaters and tracking devices in container ships.

“Connected things for specialised use are currently the largest category, however, this is quickly changing with the increased use of generic devices. By 2020, cross-industry devices will dominate the number of connected things used in the enterprise,” Tully adds.

Flosstime is the world’s first smart floss dispenser

What a flossome idea to improve oral hygiene!

Did you know that nearly 80 percent of people don’t floss their teeth? Even though you’ve been told countless times how important it was to do so, you probably tune out the dentist whenever he or she starts lecturing about it. For some reason, it’s a task that’s difficult to incorporate into your morning and nighttime routine, whether that’s because it’s time-consuming or just one more thing you “have to do.” Fortunately, a smart gadget from one Palo Alto startup may have the solution.


Flosstime is an intelligent, elegantly-designed device that mounts to your bathroom mirror to help you establish a daily flossing regimen. Whereas more conventional dispensers are old, outdated and hard to remember, Flosstime is a habit-forming accessory that’ll help make the once-tedious activity fun, and more importantly, nearly impossible to forget.

The unit affixes to your mirror (either using micro suction tab or an adhesive strip) and dispenses the recommended 18 inches of floss every time you press its button, lighting up to show a smile. Once the floss has been provided, the device cues a 90-second timer in the form of blue-glowing quadrants that move clockwise around a circular light ring. When you go 24 hours without pressing the button, however, Flosstime will express its discontentment by turning orange and revealing a frown.


“Our research shows that the biggest problem with flossing is simply getting the floss into your hands. Once it’s there, almost everyone flosses properly! The automatic dispensing mechanism makes it easier for you to begin flossing and removes the worry of having too much or too little,” its creators note.

What’s more, Flosstime features both single and dual user mode so it can be shared by two people. After all, a couple that flosses together, stays together! While in dual user mode, the frown is split into two and each half is a separate reminder for each individual. If one doesn’t floss, the other will know. (It looks like leaving the toilet seat up won’t be the only argument pretty soon!)


When forming habits, why not start early? In order to make flossing a bit more enjoyable for the younger generation, Flosstime also comes with cute animal snap-ons. If not used everyday, the animal’s eyes glow warning lights to offer a child with a friendly reminder to floss their teeth.

One thing that we’re seeing an awful lot of with connected objects is the emergence of the so-called ‘Internet of Useless Things.’ Just because you can make something smart doesn’t always necessarily mean you have to. Cognizant of this, Flosstime has done an excellent job in enhancing one function. They explain, “We believe that the only time you need to be reminded to floss is when you’re in the bathroom! Getting a push notification on your phone to floss while you’re sitting on the couch enjoying a movie is not very effective.

Sound like a simple yet effective solution to improve your oral hygiene? Head over to Flosstime’s Kickstarter campaign, where the startup is currently seeking $15,000. Delivery is slated for August 2016.

Report: 700 million smart home devices to ship by 2020

One million smart home appliances shipped globally in 2014, IHS reports.

If your home isn’t smart yet, just wait. That’s because intelligent household appliances — like your washing machine, air conditioner, dryer, stove and refrigerator — are set to multiply in the years to come, a new report from IHS suggests.

Remote home control

According to the firm, the global market for such goods is projected to grow at a five-year compound annual growth rate of 134%, bringing the total units shipped from less than one million in 2014 to more than 223 million shipped by 2020. Factor in smaller home machines, such as robotic vacuums, electronic toothbrushes and coffeemakers, and the total number of smart devices skyrockets to 700 million in that same timeframe.

Beyond that, IHS lists three key factors that will help facilitate smart appliance adoption: energy management initiatives, standards for interoperability, and other marketplace dynamics including pricing, retail environment and competitive landscape.

Already today, appliance makers are shifting their focus from low-profit, low-growth “dumb” products toward emerging high-margin, revenue-oriented connected gadgets. Take for instance, Samsung and LG, who are vying for first-mover advantage — a term that refers to the advantage gained by the initial significant occupant of a market segment — by redirecting their efforts from mobile devices, TVs and other saturated areas to smart home equipment.

“Electronics giants could also benefit from the convergence of mobile devices and TVs with their home appliance business lines, as all of these devices can integrate well with smart technologies,” says Dinesh Kithany, senior analyst of home appliances.

Over the course of the next two to three years, the smart home market is expected to consolidate, and by 2018, IHS believes that there will be only a couple of connectivity platforms, operating systems and a small number of technology-oriented appliance companies dominating the market. One great example of this is the harmonization of ZigBee and Thread, both of which have decided to play nice to simplify home control.

“Consolidation will drive consumers toward earlier adoption of smart home technology, with growth similar to what the mobile phone industry experienced just a few years ago,” Kithany adds.

Want to read more? Check out IHS’ entire report here.

Plug ’N’ IoT lets you create a smart device in just four clicks

Just plug any sensor into the board, download the necessary libraries and you have yourself an IoT device.

Created by Dutch startup Avionics Control Systems, Plug ‘N’ IoT is an extremely easy way for Makers of all levels to design connected gizmos and gadgets. Whether it’s a securing a home with motion sensors or tracking a cat through GPS, anything is possible with four clicks of the mouse on a PC.


Plug ’N’ IoT comes in two versions: basic and premium. Both models are comprised of an Atmel | SMART SAM3X8E processor, a GSM module and connectors, with the latter also including a shield. The Cortex-M3-based MCU boasts 512 KB of memory, operates at 84Mhz and features a maximum of 103 I/O pins. What’s more, the unit is compatible with just about every sensor and Arduino shield available today.


How it works is pretty straightforward: A user plugs a sensor into the unit, drags and drops the suitable libraries, and uploads the code to the board. That’s it. What’s nice is that Plug ’N’ IoT is designed for everyone — no programing experience required. However, well-seasoned Makers have the option of devising and adding their own sketches. This opens the door to a countless applications, which range from monitoring air quality inside a home to keeping tabs on the temperature of an aquarium, maintaining optimal soil moisture or protecting an entryway. In any case, the sensor can detect a change in the environment and send a real-time reminder by way of text message to its user.


Have an idea for an IoT project that you’d like to bring to life? Head over to Plug ’N’ IoT’s official Kickstarter page, where the Avionics Control Systems crew is currently seeking $39,733. Delivery is set for March 2016.

Report: Internet of Things market to triple to $1.7 trillion by 2020

According to IDC, the Internet of Things market will grow from $655.8 billion in 2014 to $1.7 trillion in 2020.

The global Internet of Things market is expected to grow to $1.7 trillion in 2020, up from $655.8 billion in 2014, as more devices become connected and a bevy of vendors and enterprises begin to embrace the opportunities. According to the latest report from International Data Corporation (IDC), the market will rise at a CAGR of 16.9%.


The research firm projects that smart devices, connectivity and IT services will make up the majority of the IoT over the next five years. Together, they are estimated to account for over two-thirds of the worldwide IoT market in 2020 with modules and sensors alone representing 31.8% of the total.

By 2020, IDC anticipates that IoT purpose-built platforms, application software and “as a service” offerings will represent a much larger percentage of revenue as the market matures. IDC also goes on to note that the number of IoT endpoints will increase from 10.3 million last year to more than 29.5 million in 2020.


“While wearable devices are the consumer face of the Internet of Things, and where recognition of IoT appears to begin, the real opportunity remains in the enterprise and public sector markets,” explains Vernon Turner, SVP and IoT research fellow at IDC. “The ripple effect of IoT is driving traditional business models from IT-enabled business processes to IT-enabled services and finally to IT-enabled products, which is beginning to disrupt the IT status quo.”

The Asia Pacific region captured 58.3% of the revenue from IoT in 2014 and is forecasted to shrink slightly to 51.2% in 2020. IDC reveals that, in China, the combination of a growing population using mobile devices and a push to improve manufacturing efficiency could potentially drive an increase in new gadgets and IoT standards. Meanwhile, North America is expected to maintain revenue share of just more than a quarter (26%) over the five-year period, while Western Europe is projected to jump from 12% to 19.5%.

Want to learn more? Download the entire report entitled “Worldwide Internet of Things Forecast 2015–2020“ here.

Report: Half of consumers believe smart home devices will be mainstream by 2020

New research from Bluetooth SIG shows that many folks are ready to live like the Jetsons.

A survey conducted by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has revealed that nearly half (46%) of consumers believe smart home devices will be mainstream by 2020. The study had explored the attitudes of American, German and British consumers towards connected living, and as a whole, discovered tremendous excitement around not only potential applications but future installations, too.


Bluetooth SIG also that 6% of those surveyed already accepted that the era of the smart home has indeed arrived, with two-thirds (66%) thinking that smart home devices will be mainstream within the next decade. This strong consumer interest was tempered by their high expectations for simplicity and cost-effectiveness.

When asked what is required for commonplace purchases of such devices, 54% of respondents cited simplicity and straightforwardness in use with 41% believing that they should be easy to configure. Moreover, 28% suggested that these gadgets should connect seamlessly with a smartphone, tablet or PC. Nearly three-quarters (73%) admitted they would be frustrated if it took too long to set up a smart home unit.

“This study confirms consumers are looking for smart home products that ‘just work’,” added Mark Powell, Executive Director of the Bluetooth SIG. “It’s evident demand for smart home devices is ramping up and consumers are keen to live in the scenarios conjured up by the Jetsons over 60 years ago. Smart home manufacturers need to deliver products that are simple, cost-effective and secure for this segment to become mainstream.”

Evident by the sheer number of hacks and discovered flaws in recent months, it’s no surprise that 42% of consumers felt that keeping their data secure was paramount in the decision-making process. 67% of those surveyed were also concerned that some smart home devices would make their data vulnerable.


Despite all of the buzz surround intelligent appliances, like washing machines and kitchen gadgetry, the research unearthed that the hype is yet to materialize into actual demand from consumers. Keyword being ‘yet.’ In fact, the devices consumers find most appealing are highly convenient solutions that enable them to control their environment, such as smart heating/thermostats (45%), smart lighting (34%) and smart security/monitoring devices (33%).

As Bluetooth SIG explains, the results certainly conveyed a preference towards the smart home solutions that offer tangible benefits, ranging from controlling their heating or lighting remotely to cut down on bills (66%) to receiving smartphone notifications from their home security system if it detects a threat (73%).

The results showed a preference towards the smart home solutions that offer tangible benefits as well. For example, 66 percent of consumers say that being able to control their heating or lighting remotely would help them save energy and cut their energy bills. A further 73 percent would like to receive smartphone notifications from their home security system if it detects a threat.​

“It’s clear there is an appetite for these kinds of solutions but widespread adoption will require the use of mainstream connectivity technologies,” Powell concluded. “As we’ve seen in other segments, niche technologies simply cannot provide the simplicity, interoperability and security that consumers demand. Bluetooth Smart technology offers all those things with an enormous install base in smartphones, tablets and PCs, a simple pairing process and AES-128 bit cryptography for maximum security. While consumers feel smart home devices aren’t quite mainstream yet, Bluetooth is already paving the way for manufacturers to deliver the products consumers want. These manufacturers can also be confident in the knowledge that Bluetooth Smart has a development environment that makes it easy to bring these products to market.”

More than ever, consumers have high expectations for home appliances. With billions of connected devices expected in the coming years, users will demand sophisticated, feature-rich products that are reliable, easy-to-use, and most of all, secure. Whether it’s refrigeration, cooking or washing, Atmel has you covered. Want to continue reading? You can find all of Bluetooth SIG’s findings here.

Xiaomi announces a lineup of smart home devices

To celebrate its fifth anniversary, Xiaomi has unveiled the Mi Smart Scale, the Mi TV2 and Mi Power Strip.

It was only five years ago that Xiaomi was founded, and in that time, the China-based company has catapulted itself atop the mobile technology industry. According to IDC, the brand is now the third largest smartphone maker in the world followed by Lenovo and LG at fourth and fifth place, respectively. Beyond that, the world’s most valuable tech startup became the largest smartphone vendor in China last year, having overtaken Samsung. In fact, a recent press release projects over 100 million units to be sold in 2015.


In celebration of its fifth anniversary, which is actually April 6th, Xiaomi CEO Lei Jun announced five new products, some of which targeting the burgeoning smart home market. Among those devices include the Mi Smart Scale, the Mi TV2 and Mi Power Strip. Two phones, a pink version of the company’s flagship Mi Note and the RedMi 2A, were also revealed.


First, the Mi Smart Scale connects with your smartphone via Bluetooth, enabling you to track weight, BMI and other sorts of data using its accompanying Mi Fit app. It has a precision of 50g (1.8 oz) and can track weights between 5kg to 150kg (11lbs. to 330 lbs). The scale features a glass platform and LED display, which remains hidden until stepped on.


Meanwhile, the Mi TV2 is a 4K LED TV that runs Android to offer smart features. The 55-inch system comes with a wireless eight-speaker sound bar and aluminum subwoofer.


Finally, there’s the new Mi Power Strip, which includes three power sockets and three USB ports that allow for quick 2.1A charging for tablets and larger phones. The product was designed with safety in mind, including surge protection, childproof features, as well as comprised of fire-resistant materials.

This group of products will be made available at special prices in China beginning April 8th. Given that the company will soon be opening an online Mi Store for accessories in both U.S. and Europe, it may not be too long before you too can obtain these gadgets. Those interested in learning more can head over to the company’s official page here, or check out a slew of photos from the anniversary launch event here.