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Smart City Sentinel

The Summer of IoT: How Connected Devices Make Fun In The Sun

By Special Guest
Carsten Rhod Gregersen, CEO and Founder of Nabto

Summer is here – and this year’s season brings with it more than just hot weather. The development of cheaper hardware and better connectivity means that Internet of Things devices are increasingly shaping our modern lives. Today, U.S. households own an average of 11 connected devices, and applications which improve upon outdoor living and summer lifestyles continue to gain popularity.

From pool owners to keen gardeners to the security conscious, let’s explore how connected devices improve our fun in the sun. 

Pool Maintenance Made Easy

As pool owners will likely tell you, there is nothing better than owning your own pool during the height of summer heat. At the same time, however, those owners will often recount that there is nothing worse than owning a pool with questionable water quality. Algae outbreaks, poor clarity, and strong chemical smells are enough to ruin anyone’s day of poolside relaxation. It is in this way that connected sensors work to save summer for pool owners everywhere.

Wireless sensors offer accurate pool information at any time of the day. Any owner simply needs to drop the device – like the pHin Water Monitor, for example – into their pool and receive real-time water analysis, temperature readings, chemical dosage recommendations, pH levels, and more directly to their smartphone. Meanwhile, for those countries where summer does not always mean sweltering heat, WiFi controlled heat pumps like HeaterReader work to warm up pools only when needed to save on energy costs.

Smart Gardens, Smart Gardeners

Clean water is one thing, but sufficient water is another key element to summer success. In this area, too, connected devices make life easier for gardeners and their prized plants. The Rachio Smart Sprinkler Controller, for example, is an automated irrigation system which adapts its schedules based on local weather forecasts. Owners can input the type of soil, how much shade the garden receives, which plants are growing there, and the sprinkler will deduce which parts of the garden need how much water. The results speak for themselves, with this automated water system reducing outdoor watering bills by up to 50 percent.

Tech in this space is all about taking manual work out of the equation. Consider the Landroid, the Roomba-like lawnmower which autonomously feels its way around the garden to navigate complex sections and evenly trim over inclines and declines of up to 20 degrees. Once the device runs low on battery power – or detects rain – it returns to base, charges, then continues once the battery is full and the rain has passed.

A Spotlight On Security

It is vital to keep in mind that fun in the sun is not always safe. Every day, about ten people die from unintentional drowning and of these, two are children aged 14 or younger. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drowning ranks fifth among the leading causes of unintentional injury death in the United States. Clearly, it is important for pool owners to remain vigilant during summer and keep watch over swimmers.

One way to do this is with security cameras connected via IoT. Just like Amazon’s Ring is watching front yards and front doors, smart security cameras with motion sensitivity and enhanced 911 calling are more often being employed to look after backyards. These cameras have come a long way in recent years, with HD resolution and color night vision options available for about $200. 

On the topic of security, however, it is important to keep cybersecurity at the front of mind when using any internet-connected device this summer. As with all things IoT, user privacy and security is an important consideration once these devices enter the home. One low-cost approach to ensure device security would be to create an IoT peer-to-peer connection between the server and device to ensure direct communication infrastructure.

In any case, connected devices continue to make our summer lifestyles more convenient. Our pools are cleaner, gardens healthier, and homes safer than perhaps ever before – leaving only one thing for us left to do: soak up the sun.

Edited by Ken Briodagh
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