4 Common things about to be reinvented by the internet of things

By now you’ve probably heard the term Internet of Things, and while we can go into the historical or technology specifics of what these omnipresent buzzwords mean, what’s important to know if you’re a consumer is that soon  everyday devices you once took for granted will change.

From a practical sense, this means they will become smarter, have their own app, will be connected to the network, and will spew data about you and your world. Depending on what general your inclinations are about technology’s role in our lives, this will alternatively sound great or terrible, but make no mistake, its gonna happen, so you might as well embrace it.

To help you do so, here are four everyday, ordinary things about to change.


If there’s one thing in our lives we don’t give much thought to, it might be the doorbell. Press-a-button, make-a-sound, it’s a pretty simple technology

But what if you made your doorbell smart? Maybe added a camera, sprinkled in a little facial recognition technology?  Suddenly you have a device that not only could alert you when someone is at the door when you are away, but also tell you who it is and even let you talk to them.

Believe it or not, there are a few startups who are already busy reinventing the doorbell. You may remember Doorbot from its appearance on Shark Tank. Another, Chui, has created a connected doorbell  that ships with facial detection technology.


Back when I was a kid, my dad would initiate a lawn-watering session with voice control (and by voice control, I mean he’d tell me to go turn on the sprinkler). While that may have been pretty smart way for him to keep our grass green, nowadays being “smart” about lawn control means controlling the sprinkler through your phone.

Now, you might be saying I already have a water-control system for my lawn, but if your’s is like mine, it’s kinda complicated and not very smart. It doesn’t really know if I’m home or away, and I certainly can’t control it via the network. But with new offerings from the likes of Rach.io and Rainmachine, I can monitor, control and conserve all through my smartphone.


Of all things in our life we probably would have predicted to stay dumb, that cup you’re drinking out of has to be near the top of the list. Since caveman times people have been drinking liquids out of vessels, and while there’s been all sort of innovation around ways to hold our drinks, for the most part the cup has stayed pretty dumb.

Until now. This past week a new product called Vessyl (see what they did there?) debuted as the world’s first smart cup.

What exactly does a smart cup do? Basically it tells you what ingredients are in your drink, how much of each type of ingredient (like, say, how much caffeine is in that coffee) and how much you have drank in a given time period.

While some were skeptical about the need to monitor ingredients in a beverage since most prepackaged drinks come with that info, I think that type of thinking is very limited. After all, I’m not sure I trust those corporate overlords packing up my sugar water, and even if I get with the buy-local times and source my beverages at the farmer’s market, it’s probably a good thing to actually check what’s in that murky stuff concoction I just bought from that witch-doctor looking dude.


Over a decade ago, I remember reading stories about adventuresome uber-nerds who were loading up their clothing with portable computers. Observing these early attempts at “wearable computing”, at the time I thought it might be a while before the average consumer wants a hard drive under their armpit.

Luckily for us, Moore’s Law has marched on, ushering in an era of wearable computing that doesn’t require anyone holster a Seagate. And while most folks talking wearables are busy yakking about smartwatches and Google GOOGL-0.78% glass, there’s tons of interesting work going on to commercialize the integration of computers into our clothes.

Intel INTC +0.32%, for one, is working on sensor-laden smart shirts that allow you to track your vitals.  While this may seem crazy, I guarantee there are a hundred thousand college, professional and even grade school coaches and athletes that would love to use this technology around the country and worldwide.  And going beyond athletics, I can imagine health use-cases like heart-attack survivors monitoring their health with a piece of “smart clothing”.

All this may sound futuristic, but it’s not. It’s now, and like it or not luddites, over the next decade everything around you will become smarter and more connected.

So you might as well order that smart cup.